A Chemical leak in Quanzhou, East China's Fujian Province has sent at least 52 residents to hospitals and caused a panic purchase of salt in nearby cities after some seven tons of C9 aromatics were spilled over the weekend.
C9 is a type of aromatic hydrocarbon resin chemically manufactured from oil. It is typically used to produce adhesives, printing ink and paint, and is toxic to humans.
By 5 p.m. Thursday, the Quangang district hospital in Quanzhou has received 52 patients who might have been exposed to the chemical. Ten people have been hospitalized, including one person who nearly drowned in the polluted water and was later taken into intensive care, the local government announced on Thursday.
A staff member of the government of Quangang district told the Global Times that some locals were sent to hospitals but could not say whether their conditions were related to the contamination. "The chemicals have been cleaned up, but residue remained in some sections of the water, which will take a long time to clean," the government staff member said.
The leak took place at 1:14 a.m. early Sunday when the tube connecting a vessel and the wharf broke, leaking 6.97 tons of C9 aromatics in the water, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
The local authority announced it had cleaned up the waters on Monday. However, some locals told the Global Times that a foul and pungent odor remained in the air near the wharf, causing many to have sore throat and dizzy spells.
The nearby Shanyao Salt Plant, claimed to be the second national salt farm in Fujian Province, confirmed to the Global Times on Thursday that they had stopped taking in seawater since hearing of the incident on Sunday.
However, a resident of Fujian's Longyan, a city near Quanzhou, told the Global Times on Thursday that supermarket salt shelves were emptied as residents scoured for salt in the wake of the incident. To ensure safety, the local agriculture and forestry bureau on Sunday urged the public not to catch, sell or eat seafood from Xiaocuo village in Quanzhou, China News Service reported.