Unfortunately, we believe that we will not find the missing alive, admitted Frank Hyldmar, boss of the Currenta group, two days later the gigantic explosion, heard more than 50 km away, which devastated its waste treatment plant, near Leverkusen, in the west of Germany.
Cancers and malformations in newborns
Five dead employees, two others missing and very probably dead, around thirty injured… In addition to the human toll, there is the environmental toll. The explosion of 600,000 liters of solvents caused a huge cloud of black smoke, containing, according to the regional environment agency,
dioxin compounds, PCBs and furans. These toxic substances, in the event of prolonged exposure, cause cancer and malformations in newborns, animals and humans.
However, the fumes reached residential areas of Leverkusen (160,000 inhabitants). The inhabitants had been asked Tuesday July 27, 2021 to be caulked in their homes. The measure was lifted but, while awaiting the results of the analyzes, the authorities gave precautionary instructions: do not touch surfaces covered with soot, do not eat fruit and vegetables from the gardens, do not swim in outdoor pools, etc. Access to playgrounds and sports has also been prohibited.
The Cologne public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation for
manslaughter. The disaster could revive the debate on the cohabitation of millions of inhabitants with potentially dangerous industrial zones.
Stronghold of the chemicals giant Bayer, Leverkusen is located at the heart of one of the largest chemical sites in Europe, on the banks of the Rhine (70 companies and 31,000 employees).