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Karachi-based research centre says overexposure to soybean dust likely caused Keamari deaths

ANI | Updated: Feb 19, 2020 03:25 IST

Karachi [Pakistan], Feb 19 (ANI): Karachi-based International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) on Tuesday wrote to Karachi Commissioner, suggesting that the "exposure to soybean dust" may be the cause of breathing difficulties being faced by residents of Keamari area, as death toll from what has been dubbed the leakage of toxic gas in the region rose to 14.
In a letter addressed to Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani, ICCBS Director Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary said that the lab has examined blood and urine samples of people "exposed to toxic aerosols" as well as soybean dust samples.
"Currently we are extensively engaged in deciphering the cause of this toxic exposure. While we are working on this complex bioanalytical problem, we think this may be due to overexposure to soybean dust," the letter read.
The lab advised that extreme care be taken in the unloading of soybean containers and that people admitted in hospital given bronchodilators and anti-histamines
14 people have died and scores others have complained of breathing difficulties from what has been dubbed the leakage of toxic gas whose nature and the source remain unclear. Authorities were alerted to the incident when people in the Keamari area began rushing to nearby hospitals with severe breathing problems on Sunday night.
In its letter, the lab further noted that soybean dust exposure related epidemics have been reported earlier in other parts of the world "with associated morbidity and mortality."
An initial investigation into the incident by Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) on Monday showed that toxic gas had leaked from the terminal storing crude oil and petroleum products located within the residential areas. (ANI)

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