A scrap metal collector in northern Vietnam has been ordered to stop processing cylinders in his possession after gas released from one of them sickened people and plants in the area.
Nguyen Duc Tuoi in the port city of Hai Phong was also asked to reimburse residents for medical treatment they needed after inhaling the toxic fumes on Sunday, December 4, Tuoi Tre newspaper said Friday.
When Tuoi's workers sawed and cut upon a 1.3 meters long cylinder, a yellow-colored gas was released, which then turned white. The workers were frightened and ran away, local police said.
They said the gas spread across a radius of 150 meters, causing dizziness, coughing and breathing difficulty in people minutes after they inhaled the gas.
Three men, 44, 45 and 56 years old, were rushed to hospital and residents of about 40 houses fled their homes.
Victims of the toxic fumes have recovered and left the hospital, police said.
A local resident, Vu Duc Thich, said "Leaves withered and fell when the gas reached them."
Tuoi has been running the scrap metal business for a month. He has more than ten similar cylinders bought from a local steel company, which had imported the cylinders for recycling.
He said people at the steel company were afraid that the cylinders would explode when put into recycling furnaces, so they sold them to him.
Local police are still trying to identify the gas and investigating the origin of the cylinders.