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Environment

Cadmium Poisoning Reported In China

by Jean-François Tremblay
August 10, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 32

The deputy chief of Zhentou township in central China has been arrested for accepting bribes after cadmium emissions from a local chemical plant in which he was a shareholder poisoned hundreds of villagers, the Xinhua News Agency reports. Authorities also detained the owner of the company, Changsha Xianhe Chemical Plant, and several managers. In addition, the government dismissed the chief of Zhentou's environmental bureau. Authorities acted after about 1,000 villagers demonstrated against government inaction. Tests on 3,000 villagers living within a mile of the plant later revealed that more than 500 had high levels of cadmium in their urine, the state-run news agency reports. Earlier this summer, the plant had been ordered shut after two villagers died and their bodies were found to contain high levels of cadmium. Xianhe produced zinc sulfate for use in animal feed.

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