Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Saturday, 11 October 2008 14:26 UK

Tainted China water sickens 450

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About 450 people have fallen ill in southern China after drinking contaminated water, the Xinhua state news agency says.

Four of the sick, in two villages in Guangxi province, have arsenic poisoning. Industrial waste from a metal company has been blamed.

Residents began to show symptoms of facial swelling, vomiting and blurred vision on 3 October.

Last month, tainted milk left more than 50,000 children sick.

Plant closed

Ge Xianmin, head of the Guangxi regional occupational disease prevention and control institute, told Xinhua: "The villagers were slightly poisoned. They can be cured in nine to 15 days with timely treatment."

Health officials said 23 children under the age of seven and 32 people aged over 60 had been kept in hospital for observation, while others were receiving outpatient treatment.

According to local government officials, torrential rain caused waste water containing arsenic from the Jinhai Metallurgy Chemical company to overflow and pollute nearby ponds and wells.

The company - a branch of the state-owned Liuzhou China Tin Company - was closed after the contamination was discovered.

Xinhua said the local government and the company had agreed to share the medical costs of the villagers.

Last month, four children died and more than 50,000 were sickened after they were fed on baby milk powder contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.

The scandal resulted in a recall of many Chinese milk products.

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22 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
'Thousands ill' due to China milk
21 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Mass recall of China milk produce
19 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific

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