Residents in a Chiang Rai district forced to breathe poisonous hydrogen cyanide for months

Photo via Twitter @kowit_ThaiPBS

Thai people on the border of Thailand and Myanmar have been suffering for months after they unknowingly inhaled poisonous hydrogen cyanide (HCN) being belched into the atmosphere by a factory in Myanmar.

Residents in the Mae Sai district of Ching Rai province have been protesting for months about a noxious odour and what appears to be low-white clouds hanging above their homes. Residents also complained of constant headaches, dizziness, coughing, and chest pains since they started inhaling the toxic air.

One man told Thai media that the gas made him cough up blood. He said sarcastically…

“Locals can bear it. Everyone has to die anyway. Thank you for your help and perfect cooperation.”

Locals are indignant that people in Thailand and other countries can come together to help rescue a stranded junior football team at Tham Luang Cave but don’t give a damn about poisonous gases and pollution belching from the factory in the Mae Sai district.

The issue gathered pace in the past few weeks with many on social media highlighting the problem with the hashtag #savemaesai at the top of Thai Twitter. The poisonous gas and smoke are coming from a factory on the Myanmar side.

The Environmental and Pollution Control Office 1 reported that they investigated the air in the area on Thursday, November 10. They concluded their report on November 11, which revealed that their gas detector MultiRAE discovered that the white smoke was HCN gas, which came from the cyanide salt the factory was using.

The Environmental and Pollution Control Office, and Maesai Hospital, suggested residents wear facemasks, close doors, and windows, and use an air purifier. This suggestion upset locals because most of them can’t afford to buy a gas mask or an air purifier.

Khaosod reported today that the Thailand-Myanmar Township Border Committee (TBC) announced that Myanmar was aware of the problem. The Burmese people in Tachileil town faced the same issue too.

The Myanmar TBC revealed that the HCN gas came from a calcium hydroxide manufacturer, named Baan Lom It 999, which is located about six to eight kilometres away from the border.

The Thai authorities reported they are keeping a close watch on the situation because there is another factory located about 40 kilometres away from the border that also uses a lot of HCN compounds.

World News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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