More than 130 in hospital after chemical plant leak in China

BEIJING (AFP) - More than 130 people were taken to hospital after chemicals leaked from a plant in eastern China, state media reported on Tuesday (June 28), the country's latest accident involving dangerous materials.

The compound diketene, which is used to make paper and pharmaceuticals, leaked from a plant in Shandong province, Xinhua news agency reported.

It cited local officials who blamed negligence for the leak, adding that 131 residents of Shenxian county had been taken to hospital as of Monday.

Eleven of these were later released while the rest were in stable condition, Xinhua said.

The company Beichen Biotechnology had been ordered to shut down, it added.

It is the latest incident to highlight the lax storage of hazardous chemicals in China, often close to people's homes.

Last week a deadly tornado in eastern China caused the collapse of a facility used to store hazardous chemicals near a drinking water plant and a river.

Massive explosions at a chemical storage facility beside a residential area in the eastern port city of Tianjin last August killed 165 people.