Toxic disasters

The town of Picher in Oklahoma devastated by a deadly twister last week is being tested for toxic air because of the blown-off massive piles of lead and zinc mining waste, according to Associated Press.

The area was already declared a Superfund site long ago because of the mining waste but this disaster will force the dwindled residents to accept the state or federal buyout offers for their land.

The Environmental Protection Agency said initial tests revealed no immediate public health hazard but more tests are further needed.

Another disaster yesterday, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in China’s southwest Sichuan province has destroyed two chemical plants which resulted in several hundred deaths, according to ICIS News (this article requires subscription).

Around 6,000 people where said to have been evacuated from the collapsed plants as 80 tonnes of ammonia have leaked. The earthquake reportedly killed more than 8,500 people.

[Photos courtesy of AP and New York Times]



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