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28 Feb 2024

Duvar English (Turkey)

Turkey: Worker in collapsed mine hospitalized from suspected cyanide poisoning

"Worker in Turkey’s collapsed mine hospitalized from suspected cyanide poisoning" 

A worker at the recently collapsed Çöpler Mine in Turkey’s eastern Erzincan province on Feb. 27 was hospitalized for fainting after nausea and vomiting complaints. He worked on the clean-up efforts at the cyanide-laden waste soil heaps in the mine. 

According to reporting by the online news outlet Medyascope, workers were transferring the collapsed soil late at night when the worker fainted. 

He was taken to the İliç Public Hospital and then transferred to the university hospital of the province. 

Hospital officials stated that they took the worker’s vitals and bloodwork. The worker was in good condition, and tests for cyanide poisoning came back negative according to the university hospital. 

However, workers at the mine clean-up complained of a strong odor at the work site which caused headaches. The workers were worried about the health risks of potential cyanide exposure. 

Headache, nausea, and vomiting are among the symptoms of cyanide poisoning. Exposure to critical amounts can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, and death according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)...

The immediate environmental impact of the disaster was apparent when birds were seen fainting around the cyanide basin after the landslide, as they landed at the site assuming it was water. 

Experts and opposition have been warning about the dangers of the mine since its foundation in 2009. In June 2022, a pipe containing cyanide also burst in the mine, leading to the discharge of waste into the Euphrates River.

However, the mine site was approved to be expanded by the Ministry after the leakage.