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ProMED: Benzene tox in China shoe factory

Gary Greenberg Gary.Greenberg at Duke.Edu
Wed Nov 29 02:27:55 EST 2000

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[see also:
Lymphoma - China (Xian): Background                    19990827.1494]

Date: 28 Nov 2000
From: M. Cosgriff <mcosgriff at hotmail.com>
Source: Xinhua News Agency, 28 Nov 2000 [edited]

Chemical Poisoning Targeted in South China
- ----------------------------------------
BEIJING -  An investigation team was sent Thursday [23 Nov 2000] to
into a benzene poisoning case in Nanhai City in south China's Guangdong 

Since last September more than 200 workers from a shoe factory in
Town in Nanhai have been diagnosed with blood problems, and 60 of them
been sent to the hospital for treatment.  The cases were later diagnosed
benzene poisoning, which may lead to possibly fatal brain and blood

The provincial health authorities sent the team and asked for local
involvement in investigating the case, the biggest instance of chemical 
poisoning in the province in recent years, an official source said.

The shoe factory has been accused of using impure benzene and not having 
established safety measures and guidelines for workers.

There are over 400 factories in Pingzhou which employ many workers from 
outside the province.  The factories, most of which are funded by Hong
or Taiwan firms or joint ventures, use the same benzene materials in 

"Despite difficulties, the case will get a thorough investigation and
handling," a provincial health bureau official said.

- --
<promed at promedmail.org>

[The article does not tell us if the benzene was inhaled, absorbed
the skin, or a combination.  Furthermore, we know nothing of the
concentrations to which these workers were exposed.  However,
lymphoma is associated with chronic high-dose benzene exposure with a
latency period of approximately 5-6 years.  Although the latency period
non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for chronic, low dose exposure is not
it appears to be approximately 15-20 years.  Benzene has been known as a
carcinogen for a number of years. - Mod.TG]

Gary N. Greenberg, MD MPH    Sysop / Moderator Occ-Env-Med-L MailList
gary.greenberg at duke.edu     Duke Occupat, Environ, Int & Fam Medicine
OEM-L Maillist Website:                      http://occhealthnews.com


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