A government study of "cancer villages" along a major Chinese river suggests economic growth is taking a heavy toll on the environment, officials say.
A rising cancer rate has been detected in regions along the Huaihe River, Yang Gonghuan, former deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said. The cancer rate in the affected areas was 50 percent higher than the national average of 0.25 percent in 2004-05, the study found.
The 620-mile Huaihe River runs through Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, all of which have seen rapid economic development since the 1980s.
Pollution from factories making leather and paper and manufacture plastic goods have affected water quality, Yang said, and many smaller factories with poor pollution control practices make the situation worse.