Thomson Reuters

Heshan - a poisonous legacy

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Qin Zhengyu, 78, shows moles and tumors on her back in her home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. Mines and chemical plants mushroomed in the realgar-rich area around Heshan from the 1950s until 2011 when they were shut down due to the pollution they caused, but dust and runoff from arsenic plagues Heshan to this day, destroying crops and poisoning people. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Qin Zhengyu, 78, shows moles and tumors on her back in her home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. Mines and chemical plants mushroomed in the realgar-rich area around Heshan from the 1950s until 2011 when they were shut down due to the pollution they caused, but dust and runoff from arsenic plagues Heshan to this day, destroying crops and poisoning people. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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A villager washes clothes in a river in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. From the 1950s, mines and chemical plants mushroomed in the area around Heshan, which is rich in realgar, or arsenic disulphide. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A villager washes clothes in a river in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. From the 1950s, mines and chemical plants mushroomed in the area around Heshan, which is rich in realgar, or arsenic disulphide. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Sixty-one-year-old villager Xiong Dejun walks towards a bus station, on his way to get an X-ray examination for his lungs at a hospital in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. The mines and chemical plants were shut down in 2011 due to the pollution they caused but dust and runoff from arsenic plagues Heshan to this day. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Sixty-one-year-old villager Xiong Dejun walks towards a bus station, on his way to get an X-ray examination for his lungs at a hospital in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. The mines and chemical plants were shut down in 2011 due to the pollution they caused but dust and runoff from arsenic plagues Heshan to this day. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Gong Zhaoyuan, 69, who was diagnosed with skin cancer, reacts as he rests at his home in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. In 2010, 157 villagers from Heshan, with a population of about 1,500, had died of cancer caused by arsenic poisoning in the previous two decades, and another 190 had developed cancer due to arsenic poisoning, the villagers wrote in a letter to the local government,...more

Gong Zhaoyuan, 69, who was diagnosed with skin cancer, reacts as he rests at his home in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. In 2010, 157 villagers from Heshan, with a population of about 1,500, had died of cancer caused by arsenic poisoning in the previous two decades, and another 190 had developed cancer due to arsenic poisoning, the villagers wrote in a letter to the local government, seen by Reuters, seeking compensation and aid. An official surnamed Tan at Baiyun township government, which administrates Heshan, declined to comment when reached by telephone. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Gong Zhaoyuan, 69, shows a medical certificate from Shimen People's Hospital which confirms he developed skin cancer as a result of arsenic poisoning, in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds, often used for herbicides, wood preservatives and in the metallurgical industry, are listed as carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization, and can...more

Gong Zhaoyuan, 69, shows a medical certificate from Shimen People's Hospital which confirms he developed skin cancer as a result of arsenic poisoning, in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds, often used for herbicides, wood preservatives and in the metallurgical industry, are listed as carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization, and can cause cancers of the skin, bladder and lungs. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Gong Zhaoyuan, 69, who has been diagnosed with skin cancer, poses for a photograph as he show the ulcers on his skin in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Gong Zhaoyuan, 69, who has been diagnosed with skin cancer, poses for a photograph as he show the ulcers on his skin in Heshan village, Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Skin ulcers are seen on 69-year-old Gong Zhaoyuan's torso in Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Zhaoyuan suffers from skin cancer, which developed as result of arsenic poisoning. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Skin ulcers are seen on 69-year-old Gong Zhaoyuan's torso in Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Zhaoyuan suffers from skin cancer, which developed as result of arsenic poisoning. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Wen Jin'e, 65, shows a scar, the legacy of an operation to treat cervical cancer, in Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Wen Jin'e, 65, shows a scar, the legacy of an operation to treat cervical cancer, in Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Gong Zhaoyuan (C), 69, who suffers from skin cancer stands next to his wife Wu Qunyao (L) and neighbor Wen Jin'e, who had cervical cancer, at his home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Gong Zhaoyuan (C), 69, who suffers from skin cancer stands next to his wife Wu Qunyao (L) and neighbor Wen Jin'e, who had cervical cancer, at his home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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A portrait of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong is seen at Gong Zhaoyuan's home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A portrait of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong is seen at Gong Zhaoyuan's home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Qin Zhengyu, 78, who suffers from skin cancer which developed as a result of arsenic poisoning, stands next to her bed at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Qin Zhengyu, 78, who suffers from skin cancer which developed as a result of arsenic poisoning, stands next to her bed at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Qin Zhengyu, 78, who suffers from skin cancer, shows tumors on her fingers, at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Qin Zhengyu, 78, who suffers from skin cancer, shows tumors on her fingers, at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Wu Qiongyao shows the skin ointments which her husband uses for his ulcers at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Wu Qiongyao shows the skin ointments which her husband uses for his ulcers at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Wu Yangkui, puts a portrait of her late husband, who died from skin and lung cancer, in a drawer at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Wu Yangkui, puts a portrait of her late husband, who died from skin and lung cancer, in a drawer at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Wu Yangkui, whose husband died from skin and lung cancer, sits at home in Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Wu Yangkui, whose husband died from skin and lung cancer, sits at home in Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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A bird perches on a line at a closed realgar mining plant on a hill at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A bird perches on a line at a closed realgar mining plant on a hill at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Water pipes are seen in a room at a closed realgar mining plant on a hill at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Water pipes are seen in a room at a closed realgar mining plant on a hill at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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A sealed mine entrance is seen at a closed realgar mining plant at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A sealed mine entrance is seen at a closed realgar mining plant at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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The damaged walls of a cistern are seen at a closed realgar mining plant at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The damaged walls of a cistern are seen at a closed realgar mining plant at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Two disused tanks are seen at a closed realgar mining plant at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Two disused tanks are seen at a closed realgar mining plant at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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A dog sleeps in front of Wen Jin'e and Xiong Demin's home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Wen suffers from cervical cancer and Xiong from lung cancer. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A dog sleeps in front of Wen Jin'e and Xiong Demin's home at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Wen suffers from cervical cancer and Xiong from lung cancer. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Medicines used by 71-year-old Xiong Demin are gathered for a photograph at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Xiong suffers from skin and lung and skin cancer. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Medicines used by 71-year-old Xiong Demin are gathered for a photograph at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Xiong suffers from skin and lung and skin cancer. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Qin Wenji, 82, who suffers from skin cancer, watches TV in his bedroom at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Qin Wenji, 82, who suffers from skin cancer, watches TV in his bedroom at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Xiong Demin, 71, who suffers from lung cancer, has breakfast with his 65-year-old wife Wen Jin'e, who suffers from cervical cancer, at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Xiong Demin, 71, who suffers from lung cancer, has breakfast with his 65-year-old wife Wen Jin'e, who suffers from cervical cancer, at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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A woman walks past a tomb at Heshan village in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A woman walks past a tomb at Heshan village in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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Damaged cowpea seedlings grow in a field at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. Rice can not grow because of heavy arsenic concentrations in the water, many other plants often die when rain washes airborne pollutants into the fields, villagers said. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Damaged cowpea seedlings grow in a field at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. Rice can not grow because of heavy arsenic concentrations in the water, many other plants often die when rain washes airborne pollutants into the fields, villagers said. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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A scarecrow stands in a field at Heshan village in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Research in the 1990s showed that arsenic concentration in the mining area near Heshan was up to 15 times the level deemed safe for farm land by Chinese government standards, according to state media. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A scarecrow stands in a field at Heshan village in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 3, 2014. Research in the 1990s showed that arsenic concentration in the mining area near Heshan was up to 15 times the level deemed safe for farm land by Chinese government standards, according to state media. REUTERS/Jason Lee
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