Clumsy Tokyo Subway Commuter Drops His Bottle of… Hydrochloric Acid?

By Andrew Moseman | November 18, 2009 1:45 pm

Tokyotrain220Note to self: the next time you need to carry a container filled with hydrochloric acid to work, take a cab.

Tokyo got a scare this morning after a man dropped his bottle of the toxic liquid on a subway train. Several people when to the hospital with minor injuries, but thankfully this chemical clumsiness didn’t cause a major disaster.

Police didn’t arrest the man in question, a 20-year-old stone mason, deciding he didn’t intend to spill his chemicals on the train. Hydrochloric acid has a number of industrial uses, though perhaps carrying it in a bottle on a crowded train isn’t the best transportation strategy.

And because of his butterfingers, New Yorkers aren’t alone in revisiting unpleasant memories of terrorist attacks (as a 9/11 conspirator’s trial comes to Manhattan). Reuters says:

Japan is particularly sensitive to hazards on its trains after a 1995 incident in which members of [the Aum Shinrikyo] religious cult released highly toxic sarin gas on the Tokyo subway, killing 12 and injuring thousands, some permanently.

Related Content:
DISCOVER: Nerve Gas in the Subway, revisiting the 1995 attack
DISCOVER: What Invisible Things Are in the Surfaces You Touch and the Air You Breathe? (in a which a DISCOVER editor finds out how dirty the New York subway system really is.)
80beats: MIT Students Who Hacked Boston Subway Silenced; Report Gets Out Anyway

Image: Wiki Commons / Fg2

  • Dennis

    Stone masons use hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) to clean mortar from their stonework.

  • Eamon

    And as usualinitial reports in Japan blamed foreigners for the incident – reporting that 3 foriegners had been detained by police at the station for dispersing a noxious substance on the train.

  • Nate Riley

    Thank god no cult here just the Masons they control the world so their is no need for subway attacks.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar