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Mass faintings occur at two garment factories in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- At least 104 workers at two Cambodian factories fainted on Thursday morning due to exposures to chemical substances, the country's union and factory officials said.

The fainted workers had been sent to hospitals soon after the incidents and the rest of the workers in the two factories had been allowed to take a day off.

Soeun Kea, head of the Free Trade Union at the Shimano factory in Kampong Speu Province, said that at least 26 garment workers got fainted due to bad smell of glue that was used to stick shoes.

"They were difficult to breathe due to bad smell of the glue and got unconscious," he said, adding that the factory officials had immediately sent them to hospital for medical treatment.

In another factory, Crystal Martin-Cambodia Limited, in Kandal Province, some 78 garment workers also got fainted due to the bad smell of sulfuric acid coming out of an exploded battery used in their workplace.

A factory officer Seang Phearum said they were sent to hospitals for treatment soon after the incident, and all have recovered and returned home.

Mass fainting has subsequently occurred in Cambodian garment factories. Last year, 823 workers got fainted mainly due to overwork, poor health, exposure to chemical substances, and hysteria, according to the report of the Ministry of Labor.

Cambodia's garment and shoe industry comprises more than 900 factories with about 600,000 workers. The sector is the kingdom's largest foreign exchange earner that generated some 5.53 billion U. S. dollars in revenues last year.

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