Chemical leak that sickened 52 in China nearly cleaned up

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BEIJING (AP) A chemical leak that sickened 52 people this week has nearly been cleaned up at a wharf in eastern China, authorities said Friday.

Investigators said around 7 tons of the common additive C9 leaked while workers were loading barrels onto a ship last Sunday in Fujian province.

The province's Department of Environmental Protection said the victims displayed symptoms including dizziness, nausea, vomiting and throat discomfort. Ten people remained hospitalized under observation.

The statement said water clean-up operations had largely concluded by Thursday afternoon, but media reports cited residents as saying that a foul and pungent odor remained in the air near the wharf, causing sore throats and dizzy spells.

Industrial accidents occur frequently in China, where industry and manufacturing are key drivers of the economy.

In the deadliest recent incident, an explosion in 2015 traced to improperly stored chemicals killed at least 173 people in the port city of Tianjin, about an hour east of Beijing.

C9 is an aromatic hydrocarbon with a strong odor and color ranging from dark brown to dark yellow. It is used mainly in printing inks, adhesives, sealants, paints and the treatment of rubber and concrete compounds.

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