About five tones of liquid waste containing 120,000 lethal doses of cyanide have leaked from a factory in Japan, in the city of Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture. The leak is not a threat for human health, as the snow absorbed most of the liquid and has been removed afterwards from the area.
The lethal substance seeped out due to an accident, as a snowplough had mistakenly hit a tank containing the liquid while clearing snow in the region, said officials.
The leak has not created so far health problems for the people living nearby the factory.
“Fortunately, snow absorbed most of the liquid and we have been able to collect the contaminated snow. The leak has not reached a nearby river and we have not received any reports of impact on people,” said a spokesman for Kurosaka Planting, the company that has been involved in the removal of nickel plating from surfaces.
Heavy snowfalls were reported in the previous week in Japan. A valve in the tank that was storing cyanide was damaged when workers were cleaning the area covered with snow.
Officials have initiated a probe into the incident. Compounds of cyanide are highly toxic to humans, and are used in murders and suicides, the international press reports.