Chemical attack at kindergarten in China injures 51 children

(CNN) – Fifty-one children and three teachers were injured at a kindergarten in southwest China when a man attacked them with a corrosive chemical, state media reported yesterday.

According to state-run news agency Xinhua, a 23-year-old suspect surnamed Kong climbed into the school in Kaiyuan city, Yunnan province, on Monday afternoon and sprayed caustic soda on a room full of students and teachers.

Two of those hit were seriously hurt, although their injuries are not life-threatening, the report said.

The suspect was detained about an hour after the attack. He allegedly sprayed the chemical as an act of revenge on society, Xinhua quoted police as saying.

Caustic soda – also known as sodium hydroxide – is used in the manufacturing of a number of common products, including soap, paper, and various dyes.

According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to caustic soda can irritate or burn the eyes and skin, provoke an allergic reaction, or even cause temporary hair loss.