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Chinese city reports cancer-inducing chemical in drinking water

Published on Apr 11, 2014 6:12 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's western city of Lanzhou saw a rush for supermarket bottled water on Friday after authorities said the city's drinking water contained levels of benzene, a cancer-inducing chemical, standing at 20 times above national safety levels.

With Beijing having identified the environment as one of its top priorities after years of unfettered economic growth, the government has struggled to make local governments and industries comply with laws.

Lanzhou, a heavily-industrialised city of 3.6 million people in Gansu province, ranks among China's most polluted cities.

The government found 200 micrograms of benzene per litre of water, it said, triggering the rush to stock up on bottled water. The national safety standard is 10 micrograms per litre.

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