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China drafting standards to prevent toxic school running tracks

By ZHAO XINYING | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-03-12 17:45

The Ministry of Education is working with other government departments to draft new standards for school running tracks to protect children's health, it was announced today.

Synthetic running tracks have attracted widespread attention in recent years after complaints they have caused vomiting, nosebleeds and skin irritations in students at primary and middle schools, including in Beijing, Shanghai and Hebei and Jiangsu provinces.

After looking into the incidents, the authorities discovered a lack of updated standards for the construction school running tracks, Chen Baosheng, the education minister, said at a news conference today on the sidelines of the two sessions.

"Some schools are even building running tracks using standards from more than two decades ago," he said.

"There are also problems with the bidding process," he said, adding that builders are sometimes winning contracts due to their low prices not high quality.

To root out toxic running tracks and protect students' health, Chen said the ministry is working with other departments and research institutes to draft a new set of standards.

"We'll pilot the new standards in some places and implement them nationwide once they have proved to be suitable," he said.

The ministry will also work with local authorities to supervise all existing and newly constructed running tracks, he added.

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