translated by Brett Larner
Chemicals from artificial track surfaces at schools are suspected in a string of incidents of nosebleeds, dizziness and other symptoms at kindergartens, elementary and junior high schools across China. The Chinese media are having a field day with the "toxic track" story, and authorities are now investigating the issue.
According to reports, since October children in regions including Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong have suffered symptoms such as nosebleeds, dizziness, rashes and itching. With reports in many cases of foul odors from recently-laid school athletics tracks, it is thought that the symptoms are being caused by the adhesives and other materials used in the tracks' construction.
The Ministry of Education has instructed the various regional governments to stop using problem tracks and to begin examining them. However, as the problems have continued dozens of parents in Shenzen, Guangdong held a protest carrying banners insisting that the local government "Help the Children."
According the People's Daily system-run "People's Network" site, specified minimum standards had been required in the construction of running tracks in the past, but beginning this year those regulations were abolished. The site also mentioned that in some cases contractors were building tracks for less than half the regular cost, suggesting the possibility of their use of shoddy or substandard materials.