The Meuse Valley Killer Fog

On December 2, 1930, an unusual weather front trapped a layer of air under a blanket of heavy fog in Belgium’s Meuse Valley over a 15-mile long stretch of farms and factories. Unbeknownst to residents, deadly fluorine gases from the factories at the northeast end of the valley were trapped in the fog. People began to notice dead birds and pets along the northern hills. The air smelled strange and burned the eyes and throats of residents. On the third day of heavy fog, people began to die. The elderly and sick succumbed first. Sixty people died and 1,000 became seriously ill. Death rates rocketed to ten times normal. On the sixth day, the fog lifted but residents of the Meuse Valley finally recognized the potential dangers of living next to heavy industry

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