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Dispute Develops Over Chinese School Contamination

April 19, 2016
Environmental Protection

Local government officials in the Chinese city of Changzhou have hit back at reports that nearly 500 children at a local school may have been affected by toxins from contaminated land.

China’s national state broadcaster CCTV had initially reported that nearly 500 children had developed health conditions including dermatitis, leukemia and lymphoma at the Changzhou Foreign Language School in Jiangsu province. The school was moved to its current site next to three former chemical plants in September 2015, with pupils developing problems shortly afterwards.

Changlong, the chemical company that operated the sites, had previously been fined for environmental violations with initial groundwater testing showing contamination from heavy metals and other toxins including chlorobenzene. In January, an overnight protest by parents demanding the school to relocate prompted authorities into remedial action which included covering the site with a clay capping layer.

Local officials are now claiming that out of 597 students who attended hospital between 11 January and February 29, only 133 had some abnormal indicators. They say no cases of leukemia were found and only one lymph cancer case, which was diagnosed before the school moved to its new site.

An official statement on the matter reads; “We invited experts to analyse the test results. Experts say thyroid nodule could happen to any 13-15 year old teenagers, and the possibility is 7%. The reasons are: insufficient iodine intake, too much pressure, instinct immune deficiency, drug intake; or virus affection, or immune system disease.”