Cancer link suspected in contaminated water
  • | gd&xh, | May 09, 2015 12:09 PM

Villagers in Tho Vi, Thanh Hoa Province, are worried that 80 residents have died over the past 20 years from cancer, which authorities have failed to explain, but tests suggest the water supply has been poisoned by asbestos.

Well water suspected of asbestos contamination

Locals say the toll may be higher, with cancer deaths attributed to other causes.

Te Thang Medical Centre said the number of people diagnosed with liver and lung cancers accounted for 80 percent of its patients.

Le Thi Lai, a villager, said no one in their family had had liver disease before her son died from liver cancer.

"When the communal authorities announced that the water in our wells are harmful, we stopped using them and changed to rainwater," she said.

Tran Minh Han, former head of Tho Vi Village, said the well water might have been contaminated with asbestos.

"In 2005, I took 70 samples from various water sources in the commune. Only two samples were safe. The rest contained bacteria or harmful chemicals," Han said.

"My sister and brother-in-law died from cancer. Seven of my neighbours also died from cancer," he said.

During the pre-reform period before 1986, a group with geologists came to exploit asbestos in Nua Mountain near Tho Vi Village. The villagers unknowingly used stones that contain asbestos to build wells and roads.

The communal authorities took samples for test and results show asbestos in Tho Vi Village's water is tens time higher than the permitted safe level.

Hoang Van Khanh, chairman of Te Thang Commune, asked higher authorities to help build a new water system for the people.

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