A chemical plant in Hunan province was closed and plant and government officials fired after a protest by local residents over cadmium pollution, Reuters reported, citing state media. The Xianghe Chemical Factory, which produced zinc sulfate, was shut down following protests by more than 1,000 villagers over the deaths of two people who lived near the plant. Autopsies had discovered high levels of cadmium, a toxic and carcinogenic byproduct of zinc production, in their bodies. Subsequent tests of other villagers showed that more than 16% had high levels of cadmium in their urine. In addition to closing the plant, government officials fired the head of the local Environmental Protection Bureau and detained the plant’s directors.
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