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Chemical leak kills 1, poisons 4 in E China
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A toxic chemical leak has killed one person and left four others ill in Linhai City of east China's Zhejiang Province Friday.

A container truck loaded with 15 barrels each containing 270 kg of liquid double phosgene (trichloroacetic acide methyl chloride) was found to be leaking on its way from Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, to Wenzhou City at about 3:00 p.m. Friday.

Fire fighters were called to the site, and heard sizzling sound from inside the truck. It then emitted white smoke that later turned black.

The firemen immediately evacuated more than 1,000 people nearby, and a cordon was set up. With heavy anti-gas clothes, four firemen spent four hours locating the leaking barrel inside the foggy truck, which they plugged.

The other 14 barrels were transferred to anther truck and the site was cleaned.

The truck driver, the only person on the truck, died for inhaling excessive toxic gas. Four on-lookers were poisoned and taken to hospital for treatment. All of them are out of danger.

Double phosgene, or diphosgene, is a colorless liquid developed as a military poison, especially during the World War I. Nowadays diphosgene is widely used in medicine, pesticide and dye sectors.

Diphosgene can cause lung damage or even lead to suffocation if inhaled. Effects of the highly toxic lung irritant are often delayed.

(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2008)

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