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China Finds Dangerous Heavy Metals In Fish

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by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 16, 2006
Dangerous levels of heavy metals have been found in a significant proportion of seafood in one of China's major fish-producing areas, prompting officials to warn of the potential harmful impact on human health, media reports said Thursday.

In a further sign of China's environmental woes, an investigation of four major freshwater lakes and offshore areas of eastern Jiangsu province showed cadmium, lead, mercury, chromium and zinc were present in 41 percent of all fish, China Daily reported.

The investigation by a local environment monitoring centre found seashells, shellfish and large fish were the most severely contaminated.

"Cadmium will cause kidney problems and mercury can cause mental disorders," said Xia Yu, director of the fishery department with Jiangsu Oceanic and Fishery Administration.

Disposed chemical products and poisonous industrial discharges were the main sources of the pollution, Xia said.

Local residents, who have traditionally relied on seafood for a large part of their diet, expressed concern.

"With such a proportion of heavy metal pollution, we really doubt now what it is suitable to eat," said Wang Linlin, a woman from Nanjing, Jiangsu's capital city.

Source: Agence France-Presse

related report

Fifteen Die In China From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Beijing (AFP) Feb 16 - Fifteen people have died and more than 270 others have fallen ill in northeast China from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a combination of burning coal and bad weather, state media said Thursday.

Thirty-two residents were hospitalised and eight of them were in serious condition, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting health authorities in Jilin province.

Seven of the dead were found in their homes earlier, prompting local officials to send police to knock on doors in the region to check on residents.

Experts attributed the deaths and illnesses to unusually low atmospheric pressure and increased rain and humidity, which trapped carbon monoxide from burning coal close to the ground, the China Broadcasting Station reported.

Local authorities in the affected areas have stepped up publicity on how to treat carbon monoxide poisoning and urged locals to extinguish coal heaters and coal burners before they go to sleep, the report said.

China is the world's largest consumer of coal, which is used widely in rural areas for cooking and heating.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

Water Cut Off For 20 000 People After Latest Chinese River Toxic Spill
Beijing (AFP) Feb 19, 2006
Water supplies have been cut off to 20,000 people after another toxic chemical spill into a Chinese river, state press said Friday.

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