Blast Kills 114, Exposes Lapse in Hazmat Regs

By Chemical Processing Staff

Aug 19, 2015

The Aug. 13 explosion in Tianjin, China, that killed at least 114 people and injured hundreds more has officials looking into hazardous chemical practices at Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics Co.

According to CNN, China’s news agency Xinhua said the company was licensed to handle dangerous chemicals at the time of the blasts but only obtained that license in June. A previous license had lapsed in October 2014.

The warehouse was a temporary storage facility that housed materials after they arrived at the port and before they were transported elsewhere, city officials have said.

Several hundred tons of sodium cyanide have been found at two locations and are being cleaned up, they added.

The explosions are also taking their toll on business in the port city, notes the CNN article. Japanese car maker Toyota said that it had been forced to halt production at three production lines in the city, with one factory located just 3 km from blast site.

Another article from The New York Times says senior executives of the company, including the chairman, Yu Xuewei, and the vice chairman, Dong Shexuan, were detained a few hours after the explosions. It also reports that Yang Dongliang, a former deputy mayor of Tianjin who became the head of the State Administration of Work Safety, was under investigation for “suspected violations of party discipline and the law.”

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