China Sends In Chemical Warfare Troops, Orders Tianjin Blast Site Evacuation After Toxic Sodium Cyanide Found

Tyler Durden's picture

Four years ago, following the Sendai tsunami and resulting explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Japanese government had just one goal: to minimize panic among the population, even if it meant blatantly lying about the resulting deadly radioactive fallout the public was exposed to. After all the top prerogative among government bureaucrats has always been to minimize social disturbance even if it means sacrificing countless individuals to a death that could have been avoided if only the government had told the truth from the beginning.

This was also the playbook followed by the Chinese government three days ago after the massive chemical plant explosion in China’s port of Tianjin where the casualty count is increasing with every passing day (85 dead at last check and rising fast), but where the real danger is that toxic gases and chemical fallout, just as dangerous and lethal as Fukushima’s beta and gamma waves, have spread in the air and water, and are jeopardizing the local population.

Initially the government did everything in its power to cover up the spread of deadly contaminants. As we reported yesterday, People’s Daily openly lied to the local population: “Authorities tasked with marine monitoring announced there were no hazardous chemicals detected in waters off the blast site in north China's port city Tianjin on Friday.

A statement from the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said major measurement of seawater composition did not show any anomaly compared with historical records.

Hazardous materials such as cyanide and volatile phenol were not detected, while the variety of zooplankton was not affected either, it added.

The problem is that the Chinese government long ago lost all credibility and as we reported yesterday, local residents “wondered if even the air was safe because of the smoke, still billowing hours later from vestiges of the inferno, which destroyed an industrial zone near the port. Many people wore masks.”

“Right now, we don’t know anything,” said Sun Meirong, 52, an office cleaner who descended 13 flights of stairs with her 1-year-old grandson after the explosions blew in her apartment windows and front door.


… According to the Tianjin Tanggu Environmental Monitoring Station, calcium carbide was one of several toxic industrial chemicals stored by the company. The others included sodium cyanide, which can produce hydrogen cyanide, a volatile and flammable liquid; and toluene diisocyanate, which can also react violently in the presence of water.

We were quite skeptical the Chinese government can maintain the charade for long: unlike radiation whose effects take years to materialize, and thus afforded  the Japanese government free reign to lie to the people with impunity for years, the effect of the Chinese toxic gases manifest themselves quickly, and usually with a combustible or deadly outcome.

Which is why we were not surprised to learn that Chinese authorities ordered the evacuation of residents within a 3km radius of the Tianjin blast site “over fears of chemical contaminationaccording to BBC.

Replace fears with reality: the evacuation came as police confirmed the highly toxic chemical sodium cyanide was found near the site.

People sheltering at a school used as a safe haven since the disaster have been asked to leave wearing masks and long trousers, reports say.   

According to a tweet by The People's Daily, anti-chemical warfare troops have entered the site to handle highly toxic sodium cyanide which had been found there.

The discovery was confirmed by police "roughly east of the blast site" in an industrial zone, state-run Beijing News said.

What is Sodium Cyanide?

The chemical sodium cyanide is white crystalline or granular powder which can be rapidly fatal if inhaled or ingested, as it interferes with the body's ability to use oxygen.

It is mostly used in chemical manufacturing, for fumigation and in the mining industry to extract gold and silver.

It is soluble in water, and absorbs water from air, and its dust is also easy to inhale. When dissolved or burned, it releases the highly poisonous gas hydrogen cyanide.

* * *

Which means that the lies can now end: officials have so far insisted that air and water quality levels are safe.

BBC adds that officials have also confirmed the presence of calcium carbide, potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate. Calcium carbide reacts with water to create the highly explosive acetylene.

Ironically, just like in the case of Fukushima where the government is desperately hiding the fact that there has been a core meltdown, so in Tianjin the deadly chemicals have made such a toxic mix that some fires have continued to smoulder and at least one reignited on Saturday.

Xinhua said several cars at the site had "exploded again".

*  *  *

Since the port of Tianjin a critical infrastructure hub in the inbound commodity pathway, handling a substantial portion of China’s iron ore and steel supply chain, today’s evacuation and the admission that the chemical fallout from the explosion was far worse than officially admitted, means that a non-trivial component of China’s trade is about to be mothballed indefinitely.

It also means that with both imports and exports set to suffer even more following last month’s shocking prolapse, which was the sole reason for China’s currency devaluation (the justification used by some pundits that China is simply eager to gain SDR acceptance is utter nonsense: China would not reveal it is adding to its gold holdings if it intended to appease the IMF, and certainly would not intervene daily to prop up its stock market, something the “free market” IMF finds abhorrent if only publicly), and with critical logistical networks now certain to be blocked indefinitely, resulting in GDP-crushing supply chain bottlenecks, Beijing – which was eager to slowdown its Yuan devaluation on Friday in order to avoid cross-asset contagion and further selling of stocks and an acceleration of the capital outflow – will have no choice but to devalue the currency even more in the coming week as the only offset to what may have well been a true black (or rather mushroom cloud shaped) swan event, one for which neither China nor the world, had absolutely any contingency plan.

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ParkAveFlasher's picture

Looks like this is under control. /s 

Good luck with that ore leaching when you're short cyanide.

"Buy the truth, and sell it not." Proverbs 23:23

Latina Lover's picture

In a country with 1.4 billion people, even if the city of Tianjin with a pop. of 15 million disappeared, that would represent a loss of slighty more than 1% of the total population.  I doubt anyone would even notice, except for family and friends.

Looney's picture

...  The company’s owners and management are being hunted down and arrested.

Shouldn’t we do the same with our “financial engineers”?  ;-)


BrocilyBeef's picture

Perhaps they should have built Ghost Ports.

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

It's the Tribe doing a stock take on the car stock pile.

Did Larry agree to 'just pull it' as all his insurances were in place?

weburke's picture

media wont report any purposeful actions if evidence emerges. 

BaBaBouy's picture

All In All, This Tianjin Disaster Can Be Cleaned Up Relatively Easily, Just A Matter Of Time And Manpower.
There Exists No Technology To "Clean Up" Fukashitta. Radiation Lasting 1000's Of Years Is All Over The Place There. The Plutonium Infused Cores
Are Still In The Ground, Somewhere, Giving And Giving...

Xibalba's picture

In NewYawk, it's just called 'pollution'.  And after 9/11, they said it was all good. 

Sanity Bear's picture

If Woody had just maintained the peg, this never would have happened.

Excursionist's picture

Can't help feeling bitter after all these years about the fuck faces from the EPA and the mayor's office continually reassuring anyone who'd listen about air quality in downtown.

And of course there were the even bigger fuck faces from Solly's exec suite reassuring everyone that the air filtration system in 386 and 388 Greenwich absolutely, positively made everything safe to be at your desk, slaving away without skipping a beat.

Shame on me for not putting 1 + 1 together and being so completely stupid even after seeing daily water trucks hosing down dust on Tribeca's sidewalks.

I'll be posting from some oncology ward in 10 - 20 years.  #Winning.

Handful of Dust's picture

"It's contained."


However, just to be safe, I'd stay out of the first rain or two and not play in puddles for awhile.

giggler321's picture

Well this was obviously planned, I mean they built all those ghost cites ready for just such an event...

Slomotrainwreck's picture

I doubt anyone would even notice, except for family and friends.

Duh! - Tasteless.

Isn't that the result of any unfortunate death regardless of the numbers? For instance, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korea, Civil War, assasination by cop, etc.

junction's picture

Both sodium cyanide and potassium cyanide are used in refining gold from mineral ores.  As in Durango, Colorado, where the EPA failed to mention the presence of cyanides in the spillwater from the Gold King mine.  You don't have to be a communist to be a lying government bureaucrat.

By the way, has anyone ever looked into what really happened to Senator Harry Reid to explain his "accident."  He looks to have ben beaten so severely that he lost sight in one eye, right after the Obama administration plans to take over Cliveden Bundy's ranch went smash.  Chinese "investors" were planning to do something in that part of Nevada.  Mention was made of a giant solar energy farm, arrays of solar cell panels on the ground to generate energy and, as a byproduct, incinerate birds flying by ("flamers").  When the news about the Bundy ranch standoff made national headlines, these investors, Triad members all, vanished. But they could have been angry over Reid not keeping his end of the corrupt bargain, hence the beatdown of Reid.

LetThemEatRand's picture

The birds prefer being referred to as "nest-biters."

Thirtyseven's picture

That's the official line.  So where's Harry's lawsuit against the equipment maker?

Surely, as a lawyer and suit-happy liberal, he'd be all over that one with no expense spared.

lasvegaspersona's picture

come on...look at the you really doubt he could have injured himeself with a rubber band? The guy is just not smooth.

lakecity55's picture

He probably just short-changed a rent boy.

Handful of Dust's picture

Piglosi had one too many and slugged him a few times when he brought up the taboo Botox question.

delacroix's picture

his drunk brother kicked his ass.   white trash

tocointhephrase's picture

"Buy the truth and sell it not." The truth being Tristar Resources. And sell it not! This company has a roasting technique for gold and antimony making leaching look archaic! By the way China represents about 90% of the Antimony market which just blew a hole. Tristar are aiming to take 10% which may have just increased without even doing anything. STRONG BUY TSTR! Quality penny stock!

silverer's picture

Cyanide certainly is dangerous.  Even in small amounts.  Wonder what the half life is in that environment?  Guess they'll be some dead fish in the nearby water as well. Too bad about all that.  They need to get some good rules drawn up on this stuff.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Sodium cyanide degrades quickly.  There is an initial die-off when it is released in concentration, but populations recover remarkably. 

junction's picture

". . .populations recover remarkably"  And you know this how?  Sodium cyanide powder is not released in concentration in the air, its stays in its powder form on the ground until it rains or is scraped off.  Zykon-B, the Nazi poison gas used in concentration camp death chambers, is sodium cyanide in aerosol form.  The decontamination squads that the Chinese government sends in to clean up Tianjin will probably have to spray areas with sodium hydroxide solution (lye) to hydrolyze any lingering toxic chemicals on the ground before backhoeing large areas in the blast zone.  Soon, there will be mountains of debris and dirt where productive warehouses once stood.

Bunga Bunga's picture

Don't worry. The government has everything under control and they will give you any information which will have the slightest impact on your health. Government would never lie, they are here to serve you, trust them.

Handful of Dust's picture

It was only a tiny leak...all tests are normal ....


... and by the way, how are those salmon doing off the coast of Alaska?

techpreist's picture

For "populations recovering remarkably," there are more than a few books on the aftermath of toxic releases, and of population modeling. This explosion has prompted me to start writing an app for doing probit analysis (probability of death/injury), but perhaps eventually I could look at toxic releases. Then the Tylers could add some chart porn for these kinds of stories too.

The real question IMO is what the condition of the river wsa like beforehand.

MSimon's picture

Well if cyanide is so dangerous you will need to be separated from your body. It produces cyanide.


In fact all mammals.



Ignorance leads to unwarranted fears.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Mammals also need water to survive, and in fact are largely composed of water.  Turns out the stuff can also make you drown.  And don't get me started with the difference between Fukishima and normal background radiation, which is harmless.  Ignorance also leads to unwarranted complacency.

DIgnified's picture

This is the dumbest fucking comment I have ever read on this website. You should be embarrassed to be this obtuse. 

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Screw you and your profit killing regulations!

Montani Semper Liberi's picture

That is almost exactly what late Elmer Fike said in the early 80's. Fike Chemical sprang up in Nitro, WVa and it's laboratories were located mainly in some WWI era concrete bunkers.

 The town of Nitro was created under the Deficiency Appropriations Act of Oct 16, 1917, as America was facing a serious wartime gunpowder shortage at that time. The name Nitro is short for nitro-cellulose, so chosen by the Ordnance Department because it identified the type of gunpowder to be produced. An alternative name, Redwop (powder spelled backwards) was also considered. Almost as soon as the factories were complete and started to produce powder the war ended on Nov 11, 1918.

 I vividly recall the two sodium fires that occurred across the river at Fike Chem in the 80's, with one of them being fairly serious. Both were the result of improperly sealed drums that were left out in the rain. At least the Nitro FD was sophisticated enough to fight the fire with chemical foam. The area has been an EPA Superfund site since 1986, and serious concentrations of dioxin in the groundwater continue to plague the site today. Thank you Mr Fike.

 It is evident the Chinese have decades of catching up to do in terms of hazardous material handling and disposal, and have the cavalier attitude of Fike that environmental safety rules cost jobs, money and ultimately GDP.

Montani Semper Liberi's picture

 I did as you said and I learned that the active ingredient in fire suppressing foam is antimony, which has it's own long list of safety hazards. Thanks a lot, now I have something else to worry about!

 To qoute a popular phrase from my hippie days:

 Better living through chemistry!

Montani Semper Liberi's picture

One more trip down memory lane from the Fike Chem days, and that was the frequent spills of methyl mercaptan that happened there.

 The strongest, most pervasive and foulest odor imaginable, it was akin to a skunk on steroids. Not only did it smell putrid, but it left an aftertaste on the back of your tongue as an added bonus.


tocointhephrase's picture

Antimony, like silver is a metal critical for the twenty first century. China represents over 90% of the market. Leaching is sure to come under pressure (pun not intended) and Tri-Star Resources have a safer technique and about to take 10% of the market. Watch this space. TSTR for gold and antimony recovery!

2500saturdays's picture

I will take a chemical reaction over a nuclear reaction any day. Truely a mess but nothing like FUK.

JustObserving's picture

700 tonnes of Sodium Cyanide:

The information filtering out as to the cause of the disaster has triggered open recriminations against the regime of the Stalinist Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Reports indicate that a warehouse operated by Rui Hai International Logistics, a company started in 2011, was storing up to 700 tonnes of highly dangerous sodium cyanide and unspecified quantities of calcium carbide. Containers holding these substances will explode when heated. The fire-fighting crews sent to combat a blaze at the warehouse were not told about the chemicals. At least 21 emergency workers died in the blasts that followed.

Hundreds of port workers were sleeping barely 600 metres away in overcrowded dormitories. Some 90,000 people live within a five kilometre radius of the warehouse. If the explosions had taken place during the day, when the streets and buildings surrounding the docks were bustling with human traffic, the carnage would have been far worse.

The CCP government in Beijing is nervous over the public reaction to the Tianjin explosions, which have demonstrated again the consequences of the unchecked capitalist development over which it has presided for more than 35 years. According to official reports, Rui Hai International Logistics was storing deadly chemicals without the knowledge of, or intervention by, any authorities. The company’s owners and management are being hunted down and arrested. They will more than likely face execution or draconian prison sentences after highly public trials, in an effort to deflect any scrutiny of the broader issues posed by the disaster.

MSimon's picture

the consequences of the unchecked capitalist development


China is not a capitalist country. At best it is a crony capitalist country. Or more precisely an oligarchy or fascist country.