Parents Claim Children Sick From Toxic School Grounds

Fan Liya:

Parents of students in Central China’s Hubei province are questioning their school’s health and safety standards after 100 children fell sick shortly after the start of the fall semester, China Newsweek reported on Sunday.

Some 132 of the 1,200 students enrolled at the newly built Canglong No. 2 Primary School in Wuhan suffered from nosebleeds, vomiting, and eczema, one parent surnamed Xia — who did not offer her full name for privacy reasons — told Sixth Tone on Monday. The mother of a 7-year-old student claimed that the illness was linked to toxins in the classrooms, running track, and playground.

Earlier this month, after parents staged several protests, the publicity division of Jiangxia District — where the school is located — said the medical diagnosis of some students showed that the nosebleeds were due to the autumn’s dry weather. However, Xia disagrees. “The doctors did not explicitly say that the nosebleeds resulted from the dry weather or the school’s refurbishing,” she said. “But some doctors said that nasal mucosa infection might be related to stimulants present in the campus air.” Sixth Tone could not reach the education bureau of Jiangxia District for comment on Monday.

On Sept. 10, Xia had joined several parents to request that officials from the school and the education bureau remove the synthetic surface on the playground and suspend classes until it was deemed safe. However, she said the school administrators rejected the request, citing that construction met standards. Two separate assessments led by the parents also showed that the materials used in the playground met the national standard for synthetic surfaces.