Chemical leak sickens 62 at China factory

January 7, 2011 4:14:46 AM PST
A chemical leak has sickened 62 workers at a pharmaceutical factory in eastern China. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that 37 of them were still in a hospital Friday after inhaling fumes at work Thursday.

The cause of the leak was under investigation. Xinhua said the leaked chemical was phosgene, commonly used to produce pesticides, painkillers and antibiotics.

The leak happened at the Wanbei Pharmaceutical Co. in Suzhou in Anhui province.

Workplace accidents kill thousands in China every year in part because of lax enforcement of safety rules and poor worker training.