Simply stepping foot on a stretch of pavement in Kawasaki has left at least three people with injuries on their feet.
Strangeness broke out on the bank of the Tama River which runs between Kawasaki and Tokyo earlier this month. Three cases of people who received chemical burns on their feet after running along the river were reported.
▼ Approximate area of the incidents
Each victim was using the same stretch of a marathon course but noticed nothing out of the ordinary prior to their injuries. Park officials were baffled and on 5 April closed down a 250 stretch of pavement.
An investigation by the Kanto bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism revealed on 20 April that the source of this hazardous pathway was actually in its construction.
When paving the road an excessive amount of lime was used, and when it rained the lime dissolved into puddles of caustic alkaline liquid. When unwitting runners passed trough these corrosive deposits, the liquid would soak into their shoes and then cause a chemical burn on their feet.
Although less notorious than their acid counterparts, bases can also be highly corrosive and cause severe damage to flesh as illustrated in this documentary on soap making that I found called Fight Club.
Readers of the news were horrified to learn that typically mild-mannered roads can be so vicious.
“That’s the first time I ever heard of something like that. They ought to come down hard on the contractors.”
“It’s like the ground in video games where you get damaged just by walking on it!”
“Maybe those joggers should have been running faster?”
“If it’s alkaline, doesn’t that melt flesh into a gooey mess?”
“Luckily, no one decided to run barefoot.”
“Are we becoming the new China?”
“I’m worried about the impact that must have had on wildlife in the area.”
“Can’t they just balance it out by adding some acid to it?”
While it would have been a neat experiment to try, rather than adding acid to the pavement, the authorities simply tore up and removed the offending surface and are expected to take around two weeks to ensure the area is pH balanced again.
Hopefully this serves as a reminder to always be cautious around puddles, and of course to never drink or eat from them because you never know what kind of chemical stew is brewing inside. Luckily, this was only an isolated incident on a small stretch of road, because Kawasaki has been known to get very wet at times.