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May 3, 2012 8:58 am

Chemical Smell in Tel Aviv Causes Scare, Drilling Off Ashdod Cited as Source

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Tel Aviv beach. Photo: wiki commons.

A strong chemical smell on Thursday in the Tel Aviv area forced many residents to take precautions by closing their windows and staying inside, while others worried about a possible attack.  After receiving calls from residents that they smelled high levels of chlorine in the air, police and city authorities began to take readings and later in the day Israel’s Home Front Command stated that drilling in the area was the cause for the residents’ concerns.

“All measurements in the Tel Aviv area are negligible,” local authorities said. “The Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to perform measurements, and trying to locate the source of odors. We are continuing to monitor other areas too.”

A local mayor in the town of Romat Hasharon said he was aware that Home Front Command had identified drilling off the coast of Ashdod as the reason for higher than normal chemical levels but questioned the way government agenicies responded in working together.

“If it were a harmful substance what would happen?” Itzik Rochberger asked. “Why is there no synchronization between the government systems?”

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Channel 10 in Israel quoted a local environmental consultant who stated that “chemicals in high concentrations can be dangerous”.

“This is an exceptional case,” the consultant said. “The smell is quite strong.”

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