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Mystery gas poisons more than 1,000

MORE than 1,000 workers at a chemical company in northeast China's Jilin Province have fallen ill after being poisoned by a mystery gas which apparently leaked from a neighboring factory.

Yesterday, more than 700 workers from the Jilin Chemical Fiber Group in Jilin's capital Jilin City went to the group's hospital, doctors told China National Radio Station.

Doctors suspect they have been poisoned by inhaling a gas as most of the workers are suffering from dizziness, vomiting, lethargy and sore throats.

Workers believe the leak could come from a neighboring factory that makes aniline.

Aniline, an organic compound, is an important aromatic amine. It smells like rotting fish and has a burning aromatic taste. It is a highly-acrid poison used in the manufacture of foam and dyes.

Doctors told the radio station that workers began visiting the hospital on April 20 and the number sharply increased on May 7. The hospital is crowded with people suffering the same symptoms.

Medical records show that there are now more than 1,000 patients admitted for this but doctors expect more as many workers with milder symptoms may not have visited the hospital yet.

Most patients feel weak and unable to walk. Some of those more seriously affected have purple faces as if they were suffering a lack of oxygen.

Doctors are concerned the patients could suffer damage to their livers, kidneys and hearts.

Workers told CNR that they dared not go to work now. A bank near the factory has shut its doors.


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