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Ammonia Leak Cause Death And Mass Evacuations In China

Chemical leaks are a frequent occurrence in China as factories.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 01, 2006
Twenty thousand people were evacuated in central China after a leak of poisonous ammonia gas at a fertilizer factory left one dead and six critically injured, state media reported on Wednesday. A factory worker died at the site after a pipe burst at the factory, owned by the Huangmailing Phosphorus Chemical Industry Group Company, in Hubei province at about 7:50 am (2350GMT Tuesday), Xinhua news agency said.

Three other workers were critically ill along with a fire-fighter, a 16-year-old girl and a pregnant woman in a nearby village in Dawu county, it said.

Schools and houses nearby were immediately evacuated while fire-fighters sprayed water into the air in shifts to clear the gas.

However, the water then flowed into the Huanhe river creating "super-high" levels of ammonia and nitrogen and threatening supplies downstream, Xinhua said.

The leak was shut off at 8:40 am and residents were returning home by the evening, although the smell of ammonia still lingered in the air.

Chemical leaks are a frequent occurrence in China as factories, some of them crumbling from years without maintenance, strain to meet the demands of a fast-paced economy.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Yale Journal Identifies Products That Cause Greatest Environmental Damage
New Haven CN (SPX) Oct 27, 2006
Cutting-edge research identifying the types of products that cause the greatest environmental damage is the focus of a special issue of Yale's Journal of Industrial Ecology. Seventy percent to 80 percent of the total environmental impact is from automobiles, air transport, food (meat and dairy, chief among them), home and related energy use, including heating, cooling and energy-using appliances.

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