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Toxic fumes kill one, another 23 victims still in serious condition

[ 2011-01-10 14:58]     字号 [] [] []  
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One person died and another 23 remain in serious condition after a chemical leak poisoned 81 people in East China's Anhui province on Thursday, the local government said on Sunday.

The leak occurred in a Wanbei Pharmaceutical laboratory in Suzhou city.

The victims were sent to three local hospitals after inhaling highly toxic solid phosgene fumes, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Zhu Hai, an official with the city government's emergency response office, as saying on Sunday.

Solid phosgene, a white crystal, is widely used in the biomedical industry to produce pesticides, antibiotics and painkillers.

The government pledged to minimize the injuries and deaths, and dispatched a 32-member expert panel to the hospitals to deliver treatment and tailored services.

Five people poisoned have been discharged from hospital as of Sunday as the company was ordered to suspend production.

Suzhou City Hospital's head nurse told China Daily the hospital received the first victim at 8:10 pm on Thursday and three patients there remained in critical condition.

Relatives crowded the areas outside victims' wards, staying overnight with clothes, quilts and food, waiting for updates. Many complained it was difficult to get information about their family members' conditions.

Relatives had been permitted to visit the victims only once in the four days following the accident to reduce the risk of infection.

The uncle of 24-year-old victim Ma Qian, who had worked at the pharmaceutical plant for six years, said Ma still could not speak or eat on her own three days after the accident.

"She wouldn't be in such bad condition if she hadn't rushed back into the workshop to shut off the valve," he said.

Ma's husband said she was coughing and her eyes were watering before her family took her to the hospital.

The wife of 46-year-old Ji Baoli said she had not thought about compensation but rather only about hopes of her husband's recovery.

Ji is the household's sole breadwinner.

The city government launched safety inspections of local production sites on Sunday.


1. How many were injured?

2. What was leaked?

3. What is the chemical used to produce?


1. 81.

2. solid phosgene fumes.

3. Pesticides, antibiotics and painkillers.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Toxic fumes kill one, another 23 victims still in serious condition

Toxic fumes kill one, another 23 victims still in serious condition

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.