French authorities have stepped up security around public water supply and treatment plants following the discovery that a number of protective health suits have gone missing from a locked room in a Paris hospital.
The suits are similar to those worn by people dealing with the Ebola virus.
Paris has been on high security alert since 130 people were killed in terrorist attacks on November 13.
Dangerous chemicals, some which can be used to poison water, were also discovered in an apartment police raided in the Brussels suburb of Moolenbeek. The area has become known as the ‘jihadi capital of Europe’ after it was discovered three of the Paris attackers lived there.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says, “We must not rule anything out. We know and bear in mind that there is a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons. The macabre imagination of the masterminds is limitless.”
Hospitals and emergency services across France have been supplied with the antidote to Sarin - an extremely potent chemical weapon - and other nerve gas chemicals for the first time.
Heavily armed soldiers are patrolling all water supply plants that feed Paris and scientists are taking water samples 24/7.
The Paris water authority Eau de Paris has also increased the amount of chlorine added to water at five key supply sites. A spokesperson says the level of chlorine in the water has been increased to limit the risk of contamination.
“When the chlorine level drops, it means there is biological contamination,” she says. “The chlorine level is controlled throughout the network. This allows us – if necessary – to precisely isolate the affected area without disrupting the entire network.”