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Dozens Hospitalized After Chemical Leak In Russia

The toxic orange cloud created by the bromine spill at the Chelyabinsk railway station
CHELYABINSK, Russia -- Fifty-five residents in the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk have been hospitalized following a chemical leak, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Local officials said on September 1 that 10 five-liter glass containers of bromine in a freight car were damaged and the contents began evaporating, creating a toxic orange cloud of smoke to appear near the railway station and in the neighboring town of Kopeisk.

Dozens of others sought medical treatment and the accident also caused a small fire.

Schools and kindergartens in the city were also evacuated as people were urged to stay inside. Ecologists are monitoring conditions in the affected area and an investigation is under way.

The Russian Prosecutor-General's Investigative Committee said the leak was caused by violations of the regulations on transporting toxic substances.

Bromine is a corrosive, toxic chemical that can cause death in humans with extended exposure. It is normally transported in lead-lined steel tanks.

Read more in Russian here, here, and here