Train station accidents highlight danger of cleaning fluids

31st of October 2018
Train station accidents highlight danger of cleaning fluids

An accident in which two women were burned when a passenger's drink bottle burst at Tokyo's Shinjuku Station this summer was caused by cleaning fluid being wrongly decanted into the aluminum container, according to police.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department filed criminal papers with prosecutors against a man in his 30s on suspicion of causing bodily injury through negligence. He is suspected of injuring the two women who suffered minor burns to their faces and legs on a platform at the East Japan Railway station in August when the aluminum can burst open after an alkaline detergent caused a build-up of hydrogen gas inside it.

The man allegedly took the industrial-use cleaning fluid from a container at the restaurant where he worked and poured it into a bottle-shaped coffee can with the intention of cleaning his bicycle chain with it. Transferring the detergent into another container is prohibited under the restaurant's regulations, investigative sources said.

A similar incident happned in Tokyo in October 2012, when an aluminum can containing a strong industrial cleaning fluid carried by a passenger exploded in the train, leaving eight passengers with burns on their faces and hands after the liquid burst from the can.

According to Katsuhiro Saito, a professor emeritus of organic physics at the Nagoya Institute of Technology, alkaline solutions cause a chemical reaction when coming into contact with aluminum.



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