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Tin smelting poisons 31 members of a family
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-11 06:10

Thirty-one members of a family were poisoned, leaving one man dead, in a tin smelting accident in Hebei Province.

The family members suffered from arsenic poisoning when one of them poured water over slag left over from the smelting process.

Eleven people, including a five-year-old boy and a pregnant women, were taken to Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing in a serious condition after Thursday's incident, but they are now out of danger.

Family member Zang Shoutang caused the accident when he sprinkled water over the tin slag. He died of poisoning on Thursday in Baoding.

The other injured were taken to hospital.

The final family member in danger, a 40-year-old woman, was on the road to recovery after receiving two blood transfusions.

The other nine hospitalized people also received blood transfusions on Saturday.

Hao Fengtong, the occupational disease and poisoning department director at the hospital, said poison could have harmed the pregnant woman's six-month-old fetus, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The other 19 family members did not received any medical treatment, sources with the hospital said yesterday.

The accident happened when Zang Shoutang sprinkled water onto the tin slag because it was creating dust in his yard, local media reported.

In Xidi village where the accident occurred, many rural residents make money from smelting tin, copper and silver. The slag created is sometimes stored in their own houses.

However, on this occasion the poisonous gas hydrogen arsenide was produced when the water hit the slag.

Hydrogen arsenide can result in renal failure and heart failure.

(China Daily 04/11/2005 page3)

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