Hundreds hospitalized for possible drinking water poisoning

By Ngoc Minh, Thanh Nien News

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About 500 workers were rushed to hospitals with poisoning symptoms, which they claimed developed after drinking water at a factory in a central Vietnam on Thursday morning.
The workers with Taiwanese-owned footwear factory Hong Fu Co., Ltd. in Thanh Hoa Province said they got itchy throats about 15 minutes after drinking from water dispensers in the company, and soon felt sick and vomited. Some reportedly lost consciousness and had convulsion.
Local authorities said in a press conference in the afternoon that a total of 735 workers were admitted to several hospitals in the province between 9 a.m. and 12 a.m. Most of them recovered and returned home in the evening, they said.
According to the province's Health Department, tests of water taken from the dispensers and vomit samples did not find any poison or heavy metal.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted a worker referred to as Nguyen Thi H. as saying that water in the dispensers was provided by the company and that they had never had problems with it before.
In March 2011, nearly 300 workers at Hong Fu were also hospitalized with serious food poisoning symptoms like stomachache, vomiting and convulsion, after having lunch at its canteen, but no fatalities were recorded at the time.

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