Eyewitnesses at the Tianjin blast site claimed they saw a ball of fire. Another claimed that a huge 'mushroom cloud' was seen after the blastTwitter/Weibo

An elite team of military personnel, who entered the warehouse in Tianjin to remove 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide, have found that the toxic chemical has leaked into underground drain water.

Sodium cyanide has now also been detected in the sewage water, personnel from the Environment Protection Bureau told The Beijing News.

Sodium cyanide releases highly flammable and toxic hydrogen cyanide gas when it comes in contact with water. 

In the meantime, the Chinese fire and safety officials have told People's Daily that the specialists have found a "huge crater" inside the Tianjin warehouse where the blast took place. 

Nitric acid items such as potassium nitrate and sodium cyanide caused the blast, the daily reported. Local reports claim that the safety personnel found that explosive material were stored in the same compound along with other hazardous chemicals.

It is reported that a team of 214 specialists were deployed to handle the chemical spillage, following the massive explosion at Binhai New Area in Tianjin that left 50 dead and over 700 injured.

Chinese authorities have told the local media that the "cyanide [is] leaking is on ground, not air," tweeted CCTV journalist Matt Simon. The crew currently is using 15 tonnes of hydrogen peroxide to contain and combat cyanide leak, Simon posted later. 

Social media claim that the authorities have requested residents to wear gas masks and protective clothing while venturing out in Tianjin.

A team of 214 military specialists in handling nuclear and biochemical materials have been deployed in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin following Wednesday's warehouse explosion.

The massive explosion took place following a blast inside the warehouse owned by a company called Ruihai International Logistics, The Guardian reported citing Chinese authorities. 

According to a report by the China Youth Daily, highly toxic chemicals including sodium cyanide and toluene diisocyanate was being stored in the warehouse.  

Toluene diisocyanate can penetrate the skin and cause poisoning, the Daily Mail reported.

Greenpeace said that the company also stored calcium carbide besides other dangerous chemicals at the Tianjin port warehouse, South China Morning Post reported.

All the three chemicals are highly toxic and can present health threats both with short and long-term exposure. "Sodium cyanide in particular is highly toxic, while calcium carbide and toluene diisocyanate react violently with water and reactive chemicals, with risk of explosion, "the Greenpeace said in a statement. 

Twitter Updates

Arthur HAN ‏@hanbingxin

Cyanide is detected in drainage in #Tianjin. Explosive were determined as nitrates. 700 tons of Sodium cyanide was stored in the warehouse.

Donald Altman ‏@donaltman3 

#explosion in #Tianjin please #PrayForTianjin The warehouse at the center of the blast was storing 700 tons of poison sodium cyanide.

 China Xinhua News ‏@XHNews

Rescuers detected high levels of SO2, CO, NOx pollutants about 500m away from deadly chemical blast spot in #Tianjin

Quick Links