Health, Taiwan, The Environment

The Tainan City Government yesterday issued a medical report showing that residents living near a closed factory in southern Taiwan have extremely high levels of dioxin in their blood, in one case 30 times higher than the standards accepted by the United Nations.

… According to the report, one of the surveyed residents had 951 pg. of dioxin in his blood, which is 31 times higher than the U.N.-accepted standard of 32 pg., Su said. However, it was not the highest amount ever found in human body. President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko was found to have higher amount when he found that he was poisoned, he said. [This is somewhat misleading since Yushchenko’s levels were an order of magnitude greater: 6,000 times the acceptable standard. In fact, most people have levels of between 15 and 45 units, accumulated over time because of industrial pollution that makes its way into the food chain.” It is unfortunate that such poor reporting should mar an otherwise important article.]

… Confidential documents show that the Ministry of Economic Affairs warned TAIC in 1982 that mercury concentrations in fish caught in the reservoir exceeded safe levels for human consumption. Yet this was not brought to public attention, nor did it result in any attempt to prevent the further spread of pollution, or the consumption of fish harvested in contaminated areas.

{, }