S. Korea probes toxic leak as impact worsens

Oct 06, 2012
South Korea on Friday launched a full inquiry into a toxic chemical leak in the southeastern city of Gumi, as officials considered designating the affected area a "disaster zone".

South Korea on Friday launched a full inquiry into a toxic chemical leak in the southeastern city of Gumi, as officials considered designating the affected area a "disaster zone".

According to , more than 600 people, including local residents and firefighters, have required treatment in the wake of the September 27 leak of hydrochloric acid at chemical maker Hube Global's factory in Gumi.

Five people were killed in an initial explosion that led to the leak as workers were unloading acid from a tanker.

But the fallout from the incident may have been far more damaging than originally thought, and a 26-member team of experts and government officials began a three-day probe Friday to gauge the severity of the situation.

"Based upon the investigation results, the government will actively consider declaring the affected region a special disaster zone," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The hundreds treated for inhaling from the leak complained of nausea, chest pain, rashes, sore eyes and scratchy throats. Some of them found blood in their saliva.

Crops and fruit on more than 90 hectares (222.3 acres) of land have withered, and some 1,300 have been exhibiting symptoms similar to a cold, Yonhap news agency said.

"This is basically a miniature Bhopal," Kim Jeong-Soo, an environmentalist in Gumi told AFP by phone, in reference to the 1984 incident in India that claimed thousands of lives.

If designated a , residents would be eligible for financial aid, tax cuts and compensation.

Explore further: Mexico investigates mass fish death in lagoon

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Radioactive water leaked at second Japan plant

Dec 11, 2011

A Japanese nuclear plant leaked 1.8 tonnes of radioactive water from its cooling system, the government said, heightening safety worries as an atomic crisis continues at another plant.

Total identifies source of North Sea gas leak

Mar 29, 2012

French energy giant Total said Thursday it had identified the source of a gas leak on a North Sea platform which has sparked fears of an explosion and wiped billions of euros off its market value.

Fukushima leak may have flowed into Pacific: TEPCO

Apr 05, 2012

About 12 tonnes of radioactive water has leaked at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with the facility's operator saying Thursday that some may have flowed into the Pacific Ocean.

Recommended for you

The underestimated risk of ethanol fireplaces

9 hours ago

Ethanol fireplaces are becoming more and more popular. However, they are not only highly combustible – in the past, severe accents have occurred repeatedly with decorative fireplaces. The devices also pollute ...

New research shows temperatures vary block by block

10 hours ago

This summer has seen the temperature rise above the severe heat mark of 90 degrees just five times, with the latest happening Wednesday afternoon. That's far fewer times than in an average New York summer.

User comments : 0