China admits to 'cancer villages' in official report

China admits to 'cancer villages' in official report

China admits to 'cancer villages' in official report

Updated 23 February 2013, 1:30 AEST

China acknowledges "cancer villages" for the first time in an official report on pollution and public health.

The Chinese Government has acknowledged so-called "cancer villages" for the first time in an official report on pollution and public health.

The term is used to describe towns with higher incidences of cancer due to air and water pollution.

China's Environment Ministry has also acknowledged local industry habitually uses poisonous and harmful chemicals banned elsewhere in the world, which pose a risk to human health and the environment.

The government faces growing discontent over hazardous smog and industrial waste problems in China's big cities.

Environmental lawyer Wang Canfa, who runs an aid centre in Beijing for victims of pollution, says this is the first time the "cancer village" phrase has appeared in a ministry document.

"It shows that the Environment Ministry has acknowledged that pollution has led to people getting cancer," he said.

"It shows that this issue, of environmental pollution leading to health damages, has drawn attention."

AFP