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December 23, 2009

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Health checks ordered after mercury poisoning

THE health authority in Foshan City in Guangdong Province has ordered full checks on more than 600 workers in a light bulb plant where at least 23 employees had suffered mercury poisoning.

The workers at the Foshan Electronic and Lighting Company, which makes fluorescent lamps, were found to have high levels of mercury in their urine, the local Nanfang Daily newspaper reported yesterday.

The story began when a worker named Peng Zhengjia suspected that the skin allergies, bleeding gums, headaches and hair loss he had been suffering since last year were linked to the amount of liquid mercury he had to work with every day at the plant.

He paid for a medical check himself and this confirmed that he had five times more mercury in his body than the safe level.

Another 22 workers were subsequently found to have dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies, the report said.

The city's Gaoming District government said they were investigating the case and would prompt the factory to start using solid mercury in its workshops, which is safer.


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