way to measure the cost of growth is in lives. Please consider China's
"cancer villages" bear witness to economic boom.
needs to look no further then the river that runs through Shangba to
understand the extent of the heavy metals pollution that experts say has
turned the hamlets in this region of southern China into cancer villages.
The river's flow ranges from murky white to a bright shade of orange and the
waters are so viscous that they barely ripple in the breeze. In Shangba, the
river brings death, not sustenance.
"All the fish died, even chickens and ducks that drank from the river
died. If you put your leg in the water, you'll get rashes and a terrible
itch," said He Shuncai, a 34-year-old rice farmer who has lived in
Shangba all his life.
"Last year alone, six people in our village died from cancer and they
were in their 30s and 40s." Every year, an estimated 460,000 people die
prematurely in China due to exposure to air and water pollution, according to
a 2007 World Bank study.
Here is the first image of a 10-image set of a slide show on
A lake near Da Bao Shan in the northern part of China's Guangdong province
turns reddish brown after the water was contaminated for years August 27,
2009. It is highly unusual for people to contract cancer at tender ages, but
not in the villages around Da Bao Shan, one of China's largest mine that
produces lead, zine, cadmium and other heavy metals.
Lead Poisoning Concerns
Inquiring minds are reading Lead poisoning
latest China safety concern.
environmental protection minister has called for more effective measures to
tackle heavy metal poisoning, state media said on Thursday, as anger grows
among parents with children poisoned by lead.
Incidents of lead poisoning have dogged China's heavy metal bases in Shaanxi,
Hunan, Henan and Yunnan provinces, leading to temporary closures of smelters
after protests by parents angry at their children's illnesses.
August, more than 800 children living near a Dongliong Group-run lead smelter
in Shaanxi province showed high levels of lead poisoning, with 174 admitted
to hospital. Angry that the plant had not been fully shut, parents attacked
it on August 17.
in August, 1,354 children living near the Wugang Manganese smelter in
Wenping, Hunan, tested positive for high levels of lead in their blood.
Villagers there blocked roads to plead for treatment and compensation.
coal mining industry is the world's deadliest, with average fatalities of
just under 10 people a day. Floods, explosions and cave-ins claim more than
3,000 lives a year, often in small, poorly regulated mines.
children died and tens of thousands were hospitalized after drinking
melamine-tainted baby formula in 2008.
Melamine, a chemical compound used in fertilizer, had been introduced to poor
quality milk to trick protein tests. Sanlu, the formula maker, went bankrupt
and its executives were jailed. Some milk dealers were executed. The crisis
caused other countries to suspend imports of Chinese milk products and led to
heavy losses in other Chinese dairy firms.
Is the growth
Want to trust agricultural goods from China?
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