Rain Tianjin currently is experiencing does not pose any risk to people's health, and an evacuation will be ordered if necessary, Bao Jingling, chief engineer of Tianjin's bureau of environmental protection, said at a news conference on Tuesday morning. [Special coverage]
Bao said toxic chemicals could be released into air when chemical residues on the ground are touched by rainwater, resulting in indirect pollution in air. As long as there are no further blasts, there will be no direct pollution to air, he added.
"Once we detect an excessive level of cyanide or organic compounds in air, we will timely issue notice, and the best solution for now is to stay away (from the blasts site)," said Bao.
Bao said the rains will also take away some of the toxic chemicals into drainage, and the government has blocked the access to sea and rivers to prevent further contamination.
"We will keep a close eye on environmental index. Once any irregular data is found, emergency measures will be conducted," he said.
Earlier reports claimed that the municipality have artificial mitigation measures ready against possible rain so as to prevent chemical reactions between sodium cyanide and water, which, however, was rejected by the municipal meteorological bureau, who said they don't have artificial mitigation plan for Tuesday and they have never had such plans since the blast, according to Caijing.com, a financial news portal.
Experts said people could feel choking after inhaling minor amount of oxygen being contaminated by sodium cyanide gas, according to a report carried by Caijing.com, a financial news portal.
Previously, photos depicting Premier Li Keqiang and other officials visiting the blasts site on Sunday showed Li not wearing masks or taking any other protecting measures, in a gesture to demonstrate the leadership's confidence in local air quality, experts said.
People worry that rains might complicate rescue efforts and spread pollution in Tianjin port, which was rocked by the blasts last week.
Bao said there is no excessive level of the toxic chemical cyanide outside the cordoned off area.
"An excessive level of cyanide has been detected at eight locations within the cordoned off area from 0:00-24:00 Monday, with the highest reaching 28.4 times," said Bao.
About 3,000 tons of highly hazardous chemicals were stored at the warehouse in Tianjin when it was hit by explosions last week, according to Niu Yueguang, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security.
Among the detected 40 kinds of poisonous chemicals, there are 700-ton sodium cyanide, 800-ton ammonium nitrate and 500-ton potassium nitrate.
The death toll rose to 114 by 9:00 am on Tuesday, with 83 bodies identified; 57 remain missing. More than 690 are receiving treatment at hospitals, with 20 in critical condition and 37 severely injured.
Yu Xuewei, Chairman of Rui Hai International Logistics Co - owner of the warehouse, and Du Shexuan, vice chairman of the company, and eight others were taken into custody on Aug 13, officials said at a news conference on Tuesday morning.