Chinese school desks found with excessive chemicals, students poisoned

PHOTO: CCTV News' Facebook

A group of students have reportedly developed sickly symptoms after attending Xinailixiang School in Da'an city in north-east China.

According to news site CCTV News, a Sina Weibo user who goes by the name Zhuiyixun, posted on Monday (May 9) that students began to fall ill because of a chemical found on the newly-built dormitory's desks.

The students experienced symptoms which include coughs, nausea, and eye congestion. It was also reported that the recently-bought desks contained excessive amounts of formaldehyde.

Those who fell ill were admitted to a local hospital and diagnosed with serious formaldehyde poisoning, People's Daily reported.

Parents of the affected students have also stepped in to ask for help from government departments but have been unsuccessful.

Formaldehyde is a colourless gas at room temperature and has a strong odour. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, breathing in the gas has adverse health effects and if a person is exposed to high levels of it, he or she might contract cancer.

This is the second case of poisoning in school that has emerged in the past three weeks. In a separate case of supposed poisoning in another Chinese school, parents of at least 522 students at Changzhou Foreign Languages School in Jiangsu province reported that their children had developed medical conditions on April 20.

According to China Post, the students were diagnosed with different illnesses, including cancer, caused by toxic groundwater and soil next to the school.

However, the school refuted the reports and claimed that indoor air quality, soil and groundwater meet national standards.

stephluo@sph.com.sg

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