Explosion at chemical plant in China: 2 killed

An explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China on Tuesday killed two people and injured several others, state media reported, in the latest of a series of deadly industrial accidents around the country. The blast occurred around noon when a high-pressure container at the Changzheng Chemical Industrial Ltd. in the Shangyu region exploded, causing a leak of highly toxic chloride, the Xinhua News Agency said. It said the blast produced no "severe environmental pollution" and the cause of the accident was under investigation. Shangyu lies in a heavily industrialized part of Zhejiang province just west of Shanghai where chemical plants have been blamed for heavy pollution of rivers and cropland.

Poor safety procedures and official neglect have led to a series of explosions and other accidents in China's chemical plants and factories in recent months.

In one of the worst, a Nov. 13 chemical plant explosion in the city of Jilin in northeastern China killed five workers, forced the evacuation of 10,000, and spilled massive amounts of poisonous benzene into a key waterway linking China and Russia, reports the AP. I.L.

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