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Seven Shoe Workers Hospitalized for Poisoning
Seven female workers who were poisoned at a shoe factory in south China's Guangdong Province are receiving medical treatment.

The seven young women, aged between 18 and 25, are from southwest China's Guizhou Province and central China's Hubei Province. They worked at the Anjia Shoes Factory, a Taiwan-funded enterprise in Guangdong.

They were hospitalized on June 6 in the Occupational-Disease Prevention and Control Hospital in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, with the assistance of the local branch of the All-China Women's Federation.

Last month, a factory employee wrote to the federation branch to say that some workers at the factory were in poor health. The federation took immediate measures and found the seven women. They said their limbs felt numb and weak, which the local hospital diagnosed as toxicopathy (disease due to poisoning).

The disease allegedly resulted from a chemical used in the glues to make the shoes. The substance was present in doses that exceeded safety standards.

Victim Tang Wenyan was almost paralyzed. Ren Bizhen, another sufferer, had to hold chopsticks in her palms while eating because her fingers were numb.

A doctor at the hospital said 90 percent of victims can be cured if the case is not serious.

The Guangdong Province Women's Federation conducted a joint inspection of the factory along with the local labor department.

The factory will be fined and made to pay the workers compensation, said the federation.

The Anjia Shoes Factory has promised to pay 1 million yuan (US$122,000) for the medical expenses of the seven workers and a further 200,000 yuan (US$24,400) for a publicity campaign for the prevention of occupational diseases.

(China Daily July 9, 2002)

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