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Search continues for 5,000 tonnes of missing cadmium slag

Written by World News

Officials from the Industrial Works Department and police from the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Division are trying to locate about 5,000 tonnes of cadmium slag, which remain unaccounted for.

13,832 tonnes of slag were illegally moved from a landfill in Tak province to Samut Sakhon last August, and stored in warehouses in Bang Nam Jerd and Khlong Kio sub-districts in Chon Buri, reportedly awaiting smelting. 8,474 tonnes have, so far, been recovered and impounded, while waiting to be sent back to Tak province.

The owner of the warehouses in Samut Sakhon, a Taiwanese businessman, claimed that he did not own the cadmium slag, but simply took delivery of cadmium and zinc slag for safe keeping, on behalf of a company in Samut Sakhon, not knowing whether the materials were toxic.

According to Samut Sakhon Governor Phol Damtham, provincial health officials took urine samples last Thursday from 11 workers at warehouses where cadmium slag was being stored.

Lab tests show eight of them have high levels of cadmium in their bodies, although none of them have developed any symptoms. All are now being treated at the provincial hospital.

Officials from the Medical Science and Health departments have collected water and food samples for testing from households in the neighbourhood of the warehouses.

Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong said that residents in the neighbourhood of the warehouses have been asked to get medical check-ups at the provincial hospital, to determine the cadmium levels in their bodies.

In Khlong Kio sub-district of Chon Buri, officials from the disease control office have collected blood and urine samples from 20 Thais and four Myanmar nationals for lab tests. N95 face masks have also been sent to Ban Bueng district, for distribution to people in the neighbourhood of the warehouse where cadmium slag was found.

Consuming food or drink contaminated with high levels of cadmium can cause stomach irritation, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Headaches and flu-like symptoms, swelling of the throat and tingling in the hands can also occur.

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