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December 1, 2009

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Perfumery's neighbors ailing

AN investigation team began probing a perfumery in Pudong New Area after more than 100 residents reported skin rashes they believe related to gas waste from the factory.

About 90 of those residents of Yihua Community in Pudong's Heqing Town took photos in the past month of rashes on their legs, arms and backs.

The fragrance and flavor factory, a Shanghai branch of Geneva-based Givaudan, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Banners calling for the factory's shutdown have appeared in the community of 1,500 residents.

"We were trying to calm down the people," said an official, surnamed Hu, with the Yihua residential commission.

"There has been no final conclusion."

The residents have long complained about the odor emitted from the factory, built nearly four years ago in the city's Jinqiao Export Processing Zone.

The community, separated from the zone by a river, is surrounded by several factories, said the residents.

Hu said some people, treated for rash, broke out for a second time.

The district's disease control officials visited the site yesterday before launching a wider investigation.

Environment protection authorities gave an all-clear regarding the odor released from factory vents, but said the plant's sewage had a "questionable" odor, according to, a Shanghai-based news Website.

Authorities established a coordination team, led by a deputy district governor, to look into the mounting complaints.

Givaudan said on its Website that its efforts to be environmental friendly in its manufacturing are "continuous." The company said it is "sensitive to the environmental impact of its practices."

It added that it pays close attention to "the impact of the activities in neighborhoods."

"We continued our programs to upgrade or install odor emission-control systems in sites close to these neighbors to further minimize the release of harmless odors generated by large-volume production of fragrance and flavor compounds," said the 180-year-old fragrance and flavor producer.


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