On October 4, 2010, a waste-retaining dam burst, releasing a slew of toxic red sludge from an alumina plant down a stream and through villages in Hungary. Three western counties in the area actually declared a state of emergency. The catastrophic accident killed four people and injured 120 others. Moreover, the sludge directly affected approximately 7,000 people, swept cars of the roads, and damaged bridges and homes. Radioactive sludge contains heavy metals, like lead, and could be seriously harmful. Those injured by the toxic sludge fell victim to numerous chemical burns and deep tissue damage. If inhaled, the dust from toxic sludge could cause lung cancer.
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