Authorities announced on Saturday that a poisonous chemical spill at a facility in the southwestern Chinese city of Guiyang killed eight people and injured three more.
The leak occurred as workers at a chemical handling plant were unloading a consignment of methyl formate from a truck. According to China National Emergency Broadcasting, an enquiry is underway.
Methyl formate is a chemical that is utilised in a range of chemical processes as well as a pesticide. If consumed or breathed, it can cause skin irritation and be hazardous.
The Chinese economy’s emphasis on chemicals and heavy industry has led to frequent deadly accidents, often traced to weak adherence to safety standards and corruption among enforcement bodies. Those responsible are often handed harsh punishments, but high demand and the desire for profits often trump such concerns.
Hundreds of people have died in industrial incidents in recent years, many of which included chemicals, including 78 in a facility in eastern China in 2019.
A large explosion at a chemical warehouse in the port city of Tianjin in 2015 killed 173 people, the majority of whom were firemen and police officers. The explosion was caused by unlawful construction and the improper storage of hazardous chemicals.