Second Industrial Poisoning in Anhui

A chemical leak in Anhui province has led to the poisoning of 62 workers, according to China Daily:

The victims, all of whom were workers of the Wanbei Pharmaceutical Co in Suzhou City, fell ill after inhaling fumes from the highly toxic solid phosgene, also known as triphosgene or BTC, that leaked from a laboratory at around 4:30 pm. Thursday, said Zhu Hai, an official in charge of the city government’s emergency response office.

Zhu said 37 workers were still being treated in hospital as of Friday afternoon, of whom eight were in critical condition ….

Solid phosgene is a white crystal used widely in the biomedical industry. It is used in the production of pesticide and herbicide, as well as antibiotics and pain-killers.

The news follows reports of two battery factories being shut down in the province after their activities placed 24 children in hospital with lead poisoning. From the BBC:

Those affected came from homes close to battery factories, despite laws prohibiting factories from being located within 500m (1,600ft) of residential areas.

“Children are precious to us. You tell me what I can do. I don’t have many requests. The government has to stand up and give the children some answers and help,” said 48-year-old Li Xiaoai, grandmother of three-year-old Jiang Shuangchao.

Her granddaughter was found to have 245 micrograms (mcg) of lead per litre of blood.

A level of 100mcg per litre is considered enough to impair brain development in children.

Excessive amounts of lead in the blood can cause damage to the digestive, nervous and reproductive systems, and also stomach aches, anaemia and convulsions.

January 7, 2011 5:44 PM
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Categories: Economy, Environment