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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Phenol Leak Sparks Crisis

Highly toxic phenol released in a train crash last week has caused an ecological disaster in central Russia, putting more than 100 people in the hospital and threatening many more, Itar-Tass said.


It said those taken ill had been involved in clearing up after several freight wagons were derailed near the town of Shumerlya, 600 kilometers east of Moscow, on May 14.


Health authorities said a further 100 people still working at the accident site were at risk and there was also a threat of a "mass poisoning" of the local population, Itar-Tass reported Monday.


Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, seeped into streams, causing widespread ecological damage, and had polluted the Sura river, which flows north into the Volga. Vapors, which damage the liver and kidneys, had also been released into the air.


Technicians are working round the clock taking water, soil and air samples.