The Homeland Security Department is warning U.S. chemical plants and bomb squads to guard against a new form of terrorism: chlorine truck bombs, reports USA Today. At least five chlorine truck bombs have exploded in Iraq in recent months, killing scores of people and injuring many more after they breathed the toxic fumes. The Chlorine Institute, a trade group that represents more than 200 companies that make and distribute chlorine, recently alerted the FBI to several thefts or attempted thefts of 150-pound chlorine tanks from water treatment plants in California.
The tanks typically used in the bombs are “ubiquitous across the world,” said a Homeland Security official. There is no intelligence indicating such an attack is imminent or that terrorists have stolen any chlorine from the nation’s chemical or water treatment plants, which use chlorine to purify drinking water. Even so, four members of the House Homeland Security Committee sent a letter to Homeland Security expressing “deep concern” about chlorine thefts in California.