TOKYO —The equivalent of 125,000 lethal doses of cyanide leaked from a factory in Japan after a snow plow accident, a plant operator said Wednesday.
At least five tons of liquid waste containing sodium cyanide spewed out of a tank after it was hit by a snow plow at a plating factory run by Kurosaka Plating Co in Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, on Tuesday, a company official said.
One liter of the toxic liquid waste, used to remove nickel plating from surfaces, is enough to kill 25 people, the official said.
The leak occurred when workers were trying to remove piles of snow from the site, which has seen severe winter weather over the last week, and damaged a valve on the tank in which the chemical was stored.
“Fortunately, snow absorbed most of the liquid and we have been able to collect the contaminated snow,” the official said. “The leak has not reached a nearby river and we have not received any reports of impact on people.”
Cyanide in various compounds has been used for suicides and murders, both real and fictional, over the last century.
Hydrogen cyanide was used by the Nazis for mass exterminations in some gas chambers during World War II and a number of senior Nazis used the poison to commit suicide.