Officials step up crackdown over toxic chemicals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am


Authorities in Guangzhou have intensified their crackdown on the use of toxic chemicals at factories after a spate of deadly poisoning incidents, Xinhua reports.

By Monday, 15 people - including several glue factory owners and suppliers - had been placed under criminal detention by police, and more than 3,000 glue-related enterprises punished by the Guangzhou Production Safety Administration.

More than 400 unlicensed workshops and shops producing or selling the toxic glue 1.2-dichloroethane, also known as ethylene dichloride (EDC), were shut down. More than 10 tonnes of glue produced by illegal workshops had been seized.

From March 1, Guangzhou's Office of the Committee for Work Safety had carried out inspections of more than 21,000 enterprises across the city, including glue producers and allied industries using the glue to make items such as leather goods and shoes.

About 130 factories that used glue from unlicensed suppliers had been ordered to rectify their practices within a prescribed time.

The move followed a series of glue-tainted scandals in the city in which dozens of workers from various shoe and leather bag factories in Guangzhou have fallen ill since late last year, four of whom have since died.

The workers poisoned by the toxic glue 1.2-dichloroethane were at various factories and workshops in the central districts of Baiyun and Liwan - most of them unlicensed, according to the municipal government in Guangzhou.

The toxic glue can cause cancer and other health problems.

The authorities promised to launch further strict measures to crack down on such unlicensed factories and workshops, many of which don't have safety measures to prevent glue poisoning.


The number of workers in Guangzhou poisoned by the toxic glue 1.2-dichloroethane, according to reports received by officials