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Teen hospitalized in alleged Sprite poisoning

By Zuo Likun and Ren Jie (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-02-01 11:59
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A 13-year-old student has become the second person in Beijing to be hospitalized with mercury poisoning after drinking a can of Sprite, the Beijing News reported on Monday.

The Beijing student, Wang Chen, was hospitalized on January 17 after drinking the suspected beverage, which was produced in August 2009 by Coca-Cola China.

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Coca Cola agreed to cooperate with the investigation, but claimed no mercury was found in the beverage quality inspection, the Beijing Times reported Monday.

A spokeswoman surnamed Li said they were surprised at the poisoning as the production line did not involve any mercury.

The company has sent the samples of the same batch to Beijing Chaoyang district bureau of quality and technical supervision for inspection, but no mercury was found.

She said the company will never shirk responsibility if the poising is really caused by the beverage they produced.

The 13-year old is still receiving treatment at 307 Hospital of PLA for treatment after being diagnosed with 3.2 percent ng/ml mercury in his blood.

The boy is believed to be still suffering from headaches after his family spent nearly 30,000 yuan (US$4,395) on toxin elimination. Doctors said the boy could not leave the hospital until mercury in his blood was reduced to 2.5 percent ng/ml, which is the standard level.

Medics also said mercury poisoning may have influence on the boy's nervous and reproductive system.

He claimed he bought the Sprite from a superstore called 'Qiu Fengman' near his school. As of Sunday, the beverage was still on sale in the store. But a person in charge of the store claimed they were a different batch.

This is the second case of alleged mercury poisoning in the past three months from the same brand of drink in Beijing. On November 7, a man vomited after drinking Sprite at a Beijing restaurant and was diagnosed with mercury poisoning.

Both cases are under police investigation.