Many schoolchildren from Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing and Changzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu were found to have suffered from nosebleeds and skin rashes, and parents are blaming the plastic materials of the running tracks on their campuses.
Some schools have removed the plastic tracks from their sports grounds in the wake of the illnesses.
Citing local media reports, China National Radio’s The Voice of China said more than a dozen schoolchildren from Yuanhe Elementary School in Suzhou suffered from nosebleeds, dizziness and skin rashes.
The school building was completed on Sept. 1 and immediately put to use without adequate inspection of the premises.
The contractor was later found to have used environmental assessment reports from other companies and used them for the schoolbuilding.
Following the discovery, school officials suspended classes and ordered the removal of the plastic tracks.
The Jiangsu Wuxi Chongning Road Experimental Primary School in Wuxi, another school where pupils suffered from nosebleeds and skin rashes, said it had failed to obtain a toxicity testing report for the sports tracks from the government.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said authorities do not inspect the outdoor facilities of schools.
Experts suspect that stabilizers containing lead compounds might have been used in the construction of the low-cost tracks.
Children may suffer from lead poisoning from long-term contact with the materials through their skin. Bisphenol A, a chemical used to increase the flexibility of the plastic used on the tracks, can cause male infertility, the experts said.
They said if the smell of plastic persists for more than a week, the running tracks could be problematic.
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