Leverkusen chemical blast likely released toxins into air

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An explosion at a German chemical plant probably released toxic compounds into the surrounding area, environmental authorities said.

The state environmental agency said tests were still underway, but that the tanks affected by the deadly blast contained chlorinated solvents.

“For this reason, we are assuming currently that dioxin, PCB and furane compounds were carried by the smoke plume to the surrounding residential areas,” an agency spokesman told German news agency DPA. He said it was so far unclear how high levels were.

The explosion tore through the Chempark facility in the western city of Leverkusen on Tuesday morning.

The blast and fire released a huge cloud of smoke, and soot particles fell on nearby villages.

Chempark operators are working with government authorities to monitor air pollution, and repeated its warnings to nearby residents.

Residents have been warned not to let children play outside, not to use outdoor pools, not to eat produce from outdoors gardens, and not to tramp soot into homes.

Photo: A view of smoke billowing from the chemical industry area of ‘Chempark’ in Leverkusen, Germany, 27 July 2021. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

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