Mounties investigate toxin after dead squirrels found at park in Richmond, B.C.

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RICHMOND, B.C. — The discovery of a toxic substance in a park where a number of dead and sick squirrels were reported last week is being investigated by police in Richmond, B.C.

The RCMP say a resident reported finding the squirrels in South Arm Community Park and fire crews identified the substance as 1-Octanethiol, a compound used in the production of other chemicals that can be dangerous if it's not handled correctly.

The Mounties say in a statement an environmental clean-up team was called immediately to remove the substance and the park remains open to the public.

Cpl. Ian Henderson says the detachment has not received any reports of people or family pets falling ill and no similar incidents have been reported at other parks.

He says the origin of the toxin is under investigation and police are asking residents and pet owners to be vigilant, and to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States says exposure to 1-Octanethiol can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, nose and throat, as well as weakness, increased respiration, nausea, headache and drowsiness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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