One dead after central China chemical leak

A chemical leak in Hunan province has killed at least one person and caused hundreds to fall ill after drinking contaminated tap water, agencies reported on Thursday, amid reports that over 1,000 people may have been poisoned.

County government officials, the report said, have acknowledged the leak from a chemical factory, saying 26 people were poisoned. But these numbers are disputed by a Chinese newspaper that cites residents saying more than 1,000 had been poisoned.

Reports identified the source of the leak, which was first emerged in December, as the Xiaoping chemical plant in the town of Banqiao. Tests have found the water contaminated with arsenic, tantalum and other dangerous chemicals, the report said.

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