Published: Monday 30 April 2001

Poisonous fumes from construction and decorating materials can cause leukaemia and other illnesses, claim authorities of China's Beijing Children's Hospital. Statistics complied by the hospital authorities indicate that most children treated for leukaemia in the past six months were residents of houses recently redecorated. Paints are said to be particularly poisonous, claims Yang Shukun, secretary-general of the country's consumer association. The poisonous content of paints evaporate and stay in the air. A good example is what happened to Chen Yi, a resident of Beijing, whose house smelt terrible even after two years of redecoration. Therefore, Chen got his house examined by several authoritative organisations. They found that the air indoor had concentration of formaldehyde -- a toxic disinfectant and preservative used in making resins -- 32 times higher than the national safety standards. Formaldehyde is believed to have evaporated from low quality decorating materials.

For making a quick buck, some factories are manufacturing products that do not meet quality and environmental standards. Such products contain high levels of poisonous chemicals.

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