BEIJING – At least 26 villagers have died from cadmium poisoning and hundreds more have fallen ill since 2009 near a disused factory in central China, local media said Wednesday, underscoring the country’s mounting pollution challenge.
Soil samples from Shuangqiao in Hunan province contained 300 times authorized cadmium levels and excess amounts were found in 500 of 3,000 villagers tested by health authorities, the China Youth Daily said.
It said 26 people had died as a result of cadmium exposure in the last four years, eight of them under 60 and 20 of them from cancer, while children in the village were born with deformities.
A major chemical plant operated in the village until 2009, and a “huge” industrial waste pile remains in the factory grounds, as does “an odor that will not go away,” the paper said.
It described the situation as “one of the country’s 10 biggest pollution incidents.”