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August 18, 2015

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Courier firm investigated over toxic package

A LOCAL courier company is under investigation after a package it delivered to Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, leaked a toxic substance that resulted in 20 people needing hospital treatment.

Shanghai-based YTO Express transported the package on behalf of Shanghai Carlow Chemical Co to an unnamed pharmaceutical company in Xi’an, China Business Daily reported yesterday.

The parcel was processed on Friday morning at a distribution center in the city and it was there that people began to fall sick, the report said.

The manager of the facility, surnamed Zhu, was quoted as saying that the package was clearly labeled as containing 10 grams of cyanacetic ester, an acidic substance that is highly toxic.

Under Chinese law it is illegal for courier firms to carry toxic or other dangerous substances.

Those that do so are liable to face criminal charges and could lose their business license.

Police in the Weiyang District of Xi’an have launched an investigation into the incident, the report said, without elaborating.

A total of 20 people who came into contact with the package were sent to hospital after complaining of dizziness and feeling sick.

All of them were later discharged, the report said.

A local doctor was quoted as saying that had any of the people inhaled a large quantity of the gas, the outcome might have been fatal.

Zhu was quoted as saying that after contacting the pharmaceutical company about the leak, he was told to bury the container in a barrel of earth, which he did.

When contacted by Shanghai Daily yesterday, Xiang Feng, president of YTO Express, confirmed that an investigation had been launched.


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