Preliminary investigations into substances released by an explosion at a chemical park in the western German city of Leverkusen indicate there is no risk to public health, officials said Friday.
Tests were conducted on soot and dust particles that fell on a residential area near the Chempark complex. Investigators found no traces of dioxins or similar toxins during initial tests, Ulrich Quass from the environmental agency in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia told a press briefing.
More detailed tests are being conducted and those results are expected next week.
Health officials are still cautioning residents not to consume home-grown produce or clean surfaces themselves
The blast caused a giant plume of smoke to rise from the Chempark site, forcing emergency officials to shut down nearby motorways. At the time, residents were told to stay inside their homes and close all windows to minimize any potential harm.
Quass said particles that fell near the industrial complex — which hosts chemicals companies including Bayer and Lanxess — were found to contain no toxic substances: “Contrary to what was feared, no critical levels of dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found,” he told reporters.
Analysis of nearby residential areas also revealed low pollution levels.
Local residents have been advised not to consume fruit and vegetables from their gardens.
“We do not yet know how long these measures will last because they depend on the progress of the investigation,” Quass said. Residents have also been urged not to clean any surfaces themselves.
The Chempark blast claimed the lives of five people. Two others are missing and presumed dead.
The cause of the explosion is yet to be established.
Police have opened a case of negligent homicide.
kb/nm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)