Toxicants detected in central Vietnam’s massive poisoning cases

Thanh Nien News

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Industrial solvent components that can harm humans in enclosed spaces have been found in samples collected in two poisoning cases that sent nearly 2,000 workers to hospitals in Thanh Hoa Province on May 15 and 19.
News website Vietnamnet quoted Tran Van Thuc, spokesman of the province’s Police Department, as saying on Wednesday that the workers of footwear producers Hong Fu Vietnam and Rollsport Hong My were sickened by toxic gases from solvents that contained hydrocarbon, ethyl acetate, and n-Propyl acetate.
The solvents can easily evaporate and the resulting gases can make inhalers suffered poisoning symptoms like dizziness, headache, vomiting, fatigue, coughing, and respiratory difficulties.
The two affected factories were small, compared to the number of workers, and ill-ventilated, Le Huu Uyen, spokesman of Thanh Hoa Department of Health was quoted as saying.
Researchers at he Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Science Institute have found the solvents’ components in the samples of water and dusts as well as workers’ vomitus, according to the report.
On May 15, some 1,355 workers of Hong Fu were hospitalized with poisoning symptoms which they originally claimed to have developed after drinking water.
Four days later more than 500 workers from the same company and nearby Rollsport Hong My were rushed to local hospitals with almost similar symptoms.
Many claimed that they fell sick after inhaling a “strange smell” believed to emanate from new shipments of raw materials.
As of Wednesday, two-third of workers from both companies came back to work.

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