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China's work safety watchdog warns gold producers of pollution

(Xinhua)

09:32, September 21, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's work safety authority on Tuesday urged the nation's gold producers to take action to protect their employees from dangerous dust and other particulates that they may be exposed to during working hours.

Field inspections of 41 gold mines in eight provincial regions found "very severe" levels of harmful dust and other pollution, according to the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).

About 95 percent of the mines monitored by the administration were found to have violated national safety standards regarding dust emissions. The administration also warned of extremely high concentrations of silica, a chemical compound that is often found in mine emissions and can lead to lung cancer and other illnesses.

Many gold producers have paid little attention to the health of their employees, as they often fail to follow work safety regulations, the administration said. This has led to an increase in the number of work-related illnesses, spawning discontent among the country's miners, the administration said.

The administration asked state-owned gold producers to tighten their safety practices and make concrete moves to curb emissions. Those who fail to meet national safety standards as of the end of August 2012 will be closed down, according to the administration.

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