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Tuesday Feb 18 2020

Soybean dust found in blood samples of Keamari poisoning victims: report

Soybeans are harvested at a farm near Balcarce, Argentina, June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/Files

KARACHI: Aeroallergen from soybean dust was found in blood samples collected from people who died after the suspected gas leakage in the city's Keamari area, sources informed Geo News citing a report released Tuesday evening.

Compiled by the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at Karachi University, the report was released after a blood analysis was conducted on samples obtained from the deceased, the sources added.

According to the sources, the report mentioned that Spain experienced a similar incident of soybean dust poisoning two years ago that affected numerous people in the country.

Senator Murtaza Wahab tweeted that preliminary reports submitted by experts at the Karachi University had claimed that the Kaemari incident happened due to "overexposure of soybean dust". 

"Preliminary report has been submitted by experts at Khi Uni which suggests that Keamari incident happened due to over exposure of soybean dust which is known to have also caused similar incidents in other parts of the world. This soybean is in a shipment docked at Khi Port," he tweeted. 

Read more: Keamari gas leak death toll jumps to 14, over 300 affected

The report, according to Wahab, has been sent to Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Ali Shallwani.

It is noteworthy, however, that no detailed or conclusive report has been issued at a governmental level.

14 dead in 48 hours

The suspected gas leak in Karachi's Keamari area has so far killed at least 14 people, according to a spokesperson for the Sindh health department.

The spokesperson added that more than 300 people, including women and children, were also affected by the health disaster.

The News had reported earlier today that authorities suspected the chemical was hydrogen sulphide — a highly poisonous gas that is a byproduct of crude oil and also generated in sewerage system; however, the spokesperson only said the lethal substance had not been identified yet.

Also read: KPT chairperson says gas did not leak from port or tankers

Over 100 people were moved to Karachi's public and private hospitals just last night, complaining — according to the doctors — of breathing problems, respiratory issues, stomach ache, burning sensation in eyes, and a tightness in the chest.

Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Chairperson Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar, on the other hand, had on Monday refuted claims that the gas leakage occurred at the port or from any ship. 

"We have completely inspected the area under the KPT’s jurisdiction including the terminals and berths, no evidence of a gas leak was found," Akhtar had said during a press conference.