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Pollution And Chemicals Blamed For Massive Cancer Rate Risa Across China

Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 21, 2007
Pollution and the excessive use of chemicals in foodstuffs are sending cancer rates soaring in China, where it is already the number one killer, state press said Monday. Cancer was the most lethal disease in both urban and rural areas last year, the China Daily said, citing a recent health ministry survey.

According to ministry statistics, it has been China's leading killer since at least 2002 but is now rising at an alarming rate.

The survey, carried out in 30 cities and 78 counties, found the death rate from cancer rose by 19 percent in urban areas and 23 percent in rural areas, although the report did not give a time frame.

"The main reason behind the rising number of cancer cases is that pollution of the environment, water and air is getting worse by day," the paper quoted Chen Zhizhou, a cancer expert at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, as saying.

"Many chemical and industrial enterprises are built along rivers so that they can dump waste into water easily... the contaminated water has directly affected soil, crops and food."

Excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides also pollute underground water, he said, while farmers are using additives on pigs, poultry and vegetables to make them grow faster.

Air pollution is a major cause of lung cancers, as harmful granules enter the lungs and cannot be discharged, the report said.

Large amounts of formaldehyde and related compounds also are widely used in home renovation materials and furniture, further polluting the air in homes.

"A high rate of cancer deaths has become a reality in areas where the environment is heavily polluted," the paper said, citing numerous examples of "cancer villages" in China that have high rates of deaths attributed to the disease.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Beijing To Turn Garbage Into Power
Beijing (AFP) May 21, 2007
Beijing plans to convert 40 percent of its rubbish into energy via incineration, as part of plans to develop new power sources and deal with landfill problems, state press said Monday. Four incinerators to be built in the capital will have the capacity to burn up to 5,000 tonnes of garbage daily when completed in five years, the Beijing News reported.

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