Poisonous gas leak ruled out | Shanghai Daily

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Poisonous gas leak ruled out

CHINA yesterday ruled out a poisonous gas leak at a chemical fiber factory as the reason that sent about 1,000 people to hospital in Jilin Province.

An investigation team made up of experts from the Ministry of Health and the northeastern province said people felt physical discomfort because of a "psychological reaction," according to China News Agency.

Some employees of state-owned Jilin Chemical Fiber Group Co Ltd and nearby residents reportedly felt sick for unknown reasons starting from April 23.

A task force of medical experts from the Ministry of Health and local professionals launched an investigation on Sunday and released their report yesterday afternoon, the conclusions of which angered the workers and residents.

"A probable toxic effect by chemical materials has been ruled out and the adverse reaction was mainly because of a psychological disorder," said professor Zhang Shoulin from Chinese Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

Initially, the workers were believed to have been poisoned by aniline from the plant, but each person described a different odor, said professor Zhao Jinyuan from an occupational disease hospital in Beijing.

"Some said it was a faint smell of fragrance while some others said it was spicy," Zhao added.

Chemical toxicants in the factory in Jilin City were detected at a very low level and there was no evidence of a sudden increase, Zhao said.

Zhang said: "Tests showed the pollutants in the air around the plant are below state standards."

The report angered the public.

"I cannot accept the conclusion," Wang Jiping, a worker at Jilin Chemical Fiber, told Xinhua news agency. "Four more workers were rushed to hospital yesterday. Why are there so many people sick if there is no pollution?

"I hope experts can investigate further. We need a better explanation," he said.

Experts suggest doctors give psychological counseling to the patients.

Nearby residents said they were still concerned. Seventy-year-old resident Zhao Xin said he would skip his usual walk outside after dinner.

"I have more than 20 relatives here in the industrial park. I'm very worried when they go to work," he said.

Some of the plant's production lines were shut down as workers stayed at home for fear of further illness.




 

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