St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Another toxic spill threatens China

Associated Press
Published December 23, 2005


BEIJING - China's government rushed Thursday to shield the country's southern business center, Guangzhou, from a toxic spill of cadmium flowing toward the city of 7-million - the second manmade disaster to hit a Chinese river in six weeks.

Meanwhile, a slick of toxic benzene from the first accident in the north arrived in the Russian city of Khabarovsk, where residents flooded a telephone hotline.

The disasters highlight the precarious state of China's water supplies for industry and homes. Regulators say its major rivers are polluted and millions of people lack access to clean water. The accidents are an embarrassment to President Hu Jintao, who has promised to clean environmental damage from China's 25 years of breakneck economic growth.

Authorities in southern China were dumping water from reservoirs into the Bei River to dilute the cadmium spill from a smelter.

Cadmium is a soft, bluish-white metal found in lead and zinc ores. Exposure to it can cause lung and prostate cancer, kidney damage and bone disease, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The government did not say when the smelter spill would reach Guangzhou, the heart of the region near Hong Kong. But the official Xinhua News Agency said city leaders were ordered to "start emergency plans to ensure safe drinking water supplies."

Six weeks ago, a chemical plant explosion spewed benzene and other toxins into a northeastern river, disrupting water supplies for millions of people and straining relations with neighboring Russia. On Thursday, the benzene spill flowed into Khabarovsk in Russia. Authorities said the city would keep supplying running water from the river because chemical levels were within a safe range.

[Last modified December 23, 2005, 01:14:13]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT