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Following rash of factory poisonings, Guangzhou to shut down 600 illegal shoe factories

Posted: 02/28/2012 7:45 am

No night elves in this story. A series of incidents involving poisoned employees of illegal shoe workshops in Guangzhou’s Liwan district has led the government to take action: a total of 626 illegal shoe workshops are slated to be closed by the end of this month, and 200 have been shut down already.


The crackdown comes as a follow-up to a story covered by TheNanfang last week with news from the New Express newspaper about 30 shoemakers in Liwan left with serious nerve damage—in addition to several deaths—after longterm workplace exposure to toxic glue fumes.

New Express and other media revisited several illegal shoe workshops in Liwan district late last week, finding operating machinery and half-finished footwear.

“Wherever there’s money,” said a Mr. Deng, when asked why he chose to remain working in an unventilated, highly toxic area, “that’s where we’ll be. We have no other choice, we must earn money to live.”

. . .

In related news, Southern Daily also reported last week that workers in Shenzhen at more than 11,000 enterprises involving electronics manufacturing, printing, shoemaking, hardware electroplating, quarrying and plastic toy, furniture and battery manufacturing) are at risk of occupational diseases. In addition, according to the Shenzhen health authorities, at least 336,000 workers in the city are in regular contact, on the job, with toxic substances.

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