China’s government has halted the construction of synthetic running tracks in schools amid a public outcry after some of the sports facilities were found to be made using industrial waste. Children have also fallen ill, allegedly from breathing in pollutants coming from the tracks. The Ministry of Education said in a statement it had ordered all campuses to stop building or planning any plastic running track. Local educational authorities were to enforce the ban until they were “absolutely sure” of tracks’ quality and safety, the statement said. China’s synthetic school running tracks made of industrial waste such as old rubber tyres and cables, says state TV Nationwide tests of existing tracks to see if they give off noxious vapours will also be launched during the summer vacation in all mainland schools. Special attention will paid to recently built tracks, with a higher risk that poisonous fumes may still be leaking from their surface. The education ministry admitted that even if a track passed the official air quality tests, it was no guarantee of safety because existing government standards needed to be improved. “We are … coordinating relevant government agencies to improve relevant standards, accelerate the revision process and enforce the standard as a mandatory requirement ... to put the health of students first,” the statement said. State broadcaster CCTV aired an investigative report earlier this week revealing that the use of waste plastic with harmful chemicals had become common practice when building running tracks in mainland schools due to loose safety standards and inadequate government supervision. Chinese primary school at centre of new health fears over toxic running tracks rips up playground Parents at the Beijing No 2 Experimental School’s Baiyunlu campus commissioned an air quality assessment earlier this year after pupils felt ill using a playground. The children suffered complaints including nose bleeds, headaches, skin allergies and sore eyes since they started running and playing in the area in April. The tests found the surface contained pollutants including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and short-chain chlorinated paraffin at levels which broke European safety standards. China’s national standards do not require checks for these potentially harmful chemicals, according to the news website Jiemian.com. New Chinese ‘toxic’ running track fears as 70 primary school students suffer nosebleeds and dizziness An entrepreneur in the chemical industry told the website that no virtually no running tracks in China could meet European standards, which have recently been adopted in Shenzhen. At least four primary schools in Beijing, including the Baiyunlu school in the Xicheng district, have started removing their tracks, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.