Reports stating that green colored water flowing from taps in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin is safe are being questioned by environmentalists. A deadly chemical disaster took place in the city over the summer.

A chemical factory in Tianjin’s Dongli district admitted it is to blame for the water discoloration.

A factory spokesperson says 200 grams of fluorescent dye powder “escaped into the environment” when workers were breaking apart old machines at the Tianjin Fengchuan Chemical Reagent Technologies Company. He says the chemical is “not toxic in small quantities” and the size of the leak was small.

He says if people came into contact with it, they should “flush themselves with a large amount of clean water.”

Environmentalists and health activists say it seems strange that the powder made its way into the local water supply and question what the “powder”  is and how much of it “escaped”.

They have advised that no one drink the water and if it has to be used at all for washing, it should be boiled first.

Environmental safety in the city has been under close scrutiny since twin chemical explosions ripped through the industrial Binhai suburb on August 12, killing more than 170 people, injuring nearly a thousand and leaving large areas of factories and warehouses scorched to the ground.

As the area is home to many chemical factories that do not keep exact records of how much chemicals they use or produce, or even what they use to make certain chemicals, environmentalists say it is difficult to know exactly how to respond to chemical spills, or how to treat those who may be injured or become sick as a result of the spills.

Recent rains may have carried chemicals from the warehouses and factories destroyed in the August explosions into local waterways and possibly even drinking water supplies.

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