52 sickened by chemical spill in southeast China's Fujian

At least 52 people were sickened following a chemical spill that dumped nearly 7 tons of toxic waste in the seas off Quanzhou, Fujian Province in southeast China.
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Waters are seen polluted in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, on November 5, 2018, after a chemical spill that dumped 7 tons of C9 aromatics into sea a day earlier.

At least 52 people were sickened following a chemical spill that dumped nearly 7 tons of toxic waste in the seas off Quanzhou, Fujian Province in southeast China, local authorities said on Thursday.

The incident happened at 0:51am on Sunday when a tube connecting a transport vessel to the wharf broke, spilling 6.9 tons of C9 aromatics into the sea.

A product of refining crude oil, C9 is typically used to produce adhesives, printing ink and paint, and is toxic to humans.

Quanzhou government said in a statement that the waters had been cleaned up by Monday afternoon.

As of 7pm on Thursday, 52 people complained symptoms including dizziness, nausea, vomit and breathing difficulties. Among the sickened, 10 remained in hospital, including one who fell into the contaminated waters and had a serious lung infection. Authorities said his condition has stabilized.

Local authorities claimed the air and water quality has improved and met standard, but will continue to monitor the environment. But to ensure food safety, they have suspended the harvest, sale and consuming of aquatic products bred in the polluted area totaling 0.6 square kilometers of sea since November 4. Over 150 farmers were affected by the spill.

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