All of the 450 people poisoned by a sulphur dioxide leak from a
local chemical plant on Monday morning in Xifeng County of
southwest China's Guizhou Province were said to be in stable
condition last night. They will, however, remain in hospital for
Sources with the southwest environmental protection supervision
center of the State Environmental Protection Administration said
yesterday that the nine patients initially considered most at risk
were doing well, including Yang Xue, a young girl who was worst
affected. All nine were transferred to a municipal hospital in the
capital city Guiyang yesterday afternoon.
The majority of those poisoned were students and teachers from
two primary schools and one middle school located close to the
Sinochem Kailin Chemical Fertilizer Co, where the leak
A doctor surnamed Zou from Xifeng County Traditional Chinese
Medicine Hospital said that Heishenmiao primary and middle schools,
which are closest to the plant, had the highest numbers of students
"We have received a further 20 patients today, which takes the
total number here to more than 100," Zou told China Daily.
She said most were suffering from nosebleeds, feeling faint and
"We have given them medicines and healthy food, and they are all
in a stable condition," she said.
Since arriving in Xiaozhaiba Town of Xifeng County on Monday,
staff from the southwest center have carried out repair work and
tests on facilities at the plant, and adjusted its technical
They also undertook an environmental quality inspection of the
area where the leak was found, with particular attention paid to a
gas discharge outlet.
A source from the centre said: "According to the data we have
gathered so far, sulphur dioxide levels over the past two days in
the areas around the schools are back within nationally accepted
Authorities were still investigating the cause of the leak, he
Huang Yonghui, a local government official, said earlier that
the gas had been unable to disperse as quickly as would do normally
because of heavy fog on Monday morning.
Although no specific cause for the leak had yet been found,
officials with the center said that, "production should be
immediately cancelled to avoid poisonous emissions if production
facilities appear abnormal".
The plant was told to halt production immediately once the leak
A worker at the plant, who asked not to be named, said in a
telephone interview that the accident was not as serious as the
media had reported. "The students suffered only mild discomfort,"
(China Daily April 19, 2007)