El combate de China contra los productos tóxicos

STANFORD – El pasado enero, las autoridades chinas en asuntos medioambientales alcanzaron a evitar por muy poco que el suministro de agua potable de unas tres millones de personas resultara contaminado, cuando una compañía minera vertió cadmio (un metal pesado tóxico que se usa en la fabricación de baterías, pinturas, aleaciones de soldar y células fotovoltaicas) en el río Longjiang. Para contener la contaminación, el departamento de bomberos local tuvo que echar al agua grandes cantidades de una solución de cloruro de aluminio, compuesto que tras unirse al cadmio se deposita en el fondo del río. Más adelante el sedimento tóxico será dragado.

Amenazas como estas a la salud y al medio ambiente no son infrecuentes en China. No menos de la mitad de los ríos y lagos del país tienen el agua tan contaminada que no es apta para el consumo humano o el contacto.

Además, China se ha hecho mala fama por varios incidentes de contaminación de alimentos y medicinas (por no hablar de juguetes con pinturas al plomo y pastas dentales tóxicas). Por ejemplo, en 2008, a unos productos lácteos se les agregó el compuesto químico industrial melamina para que arrojaran valores más altos en las mediciones de proteína láctea; como resultado, seis bebés murieron y otras 300.000 personas enfermaron.

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