Illegal use of toxic glue at a toy factory in Zhangpu county, Fujian province, caused the death of one factory worker and hospitalized 20 others.
Chen Shaohong, a 19-year-old female high school graduate who had worked in the factory for around three weeks, died last Friday of liver damage, Huang Lihong, an official with the county's publicity department, told China Daily yesterday.
Fourteen other high school graduates from the Zhangpu No 3 High School who worked at the factory had been taken to hospital and were in stable condition, she added.
All 15 had taken jobs at the factory to fund future studies.
There was no evidence from medical examinations they underwent before starting work that any of them had liver problems.
The remaining 10 or so workers were also in stable condition, Huang said.
An official lab test after the workers were taken ill showed that the glue used in the factory contained toxic substances capable of causing considerable damage to the liver, kidney, heart and nervous system.
She said the factory, a branch of a plastics company in Dongguan, Guangdong province, had started unlicensed production in June.
The factory has been ordered to stop production and all the glue has been confiscated.
The government had started inspection of factories in the county to prevent further potential hazards, she said.
Huang Yimei, a student working with Chen, described their work as gluing together plastic cylinders used in the manufacture of toys.
Huang Yuling, manager of the factory, also went to the hospital on Sunday for treatment on Sunday. He is now in a stable condition in police custody. He said the glue had been purchased from another factory.
The factory did not sign labor contracts with the workers, but did take responsibility for medical fees payable as a result of the toxic glue.