Plot thickens in Vietnam pollution scandal as diver diagnosed with copper poisoning

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The construction site of an embankment project at a port of Taiwanese steel firm Formosa in Ha Tinh. Photo credit: Duy Tuan/VietNamNet The construction site of an embankment project at a port of Taiwanese steel firm Formosa in Ha Tinh. Photo credit: Duy Tuan/VietNamNet

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A diver in central Vietnam has been diagnosed with copper poisoning amid a health scare linked to the ongoing pollution scandal. 
A source from Hue Central Hospital told Tuoi Tre newspaper on Wednesday that the man, 39, came to the hospital and demanded toxicology tests. 
The tests found more than twice the normal amount of copper in his body.
Without proper observation and treatment, the toxicity can quickly attack the organs and kill him, a doctor said.
The diver, only identified as T., came to the hospital with eight of his colleagues. They had been suffering skin rashes and feeling “unusually” tired in recent weeks, but only decided to see doctors after a colleague, 46-year-old Le Van Ngay, died hours after work on Sunday.
General health checks did not find anything unusual but T. was concerned about his health and demanded the extra tests. 
Doctors have recommended the other divers be screened for toxicity as well. 
Medical examiners have performed an autopsy on Ngay but the cause of death has not been disclosed.
All the divers work for International Manpower and Construction JSC, which is in charge of construction at an embankment of the Taiwanese firm Formosa's multi-billion dollar steel complex in Ha Tinh Province.
Formosa has been a prime suspect in an ongoing environmental disaster in central Vietnam, which has seen tons of dead fish, including rare species which live far offshore and in the deep, have been washing ashore.
The firm, officially known as Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company (FHS), admitted that it has a large sewage pipe going straight into the sea, but claimed repeatedly that the discharged wastewater has been treated.
The divers said they are worried that their conditions are linked to the same water pollution. They work two hours every day, reportedly with proper protection gears.
Authorities have not made any conclusion about what really caused the pollution.

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