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Naphtha cracking plant linked to high cancer rate in central Taiwan towns (2009/12/27)
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    Naphtha cracking plant linked to high cancer rate in central Taiwan towns (2009/12/27)

    The central Taiwan townships of Mailiao and Taishee have had the highest liver cancer death rates of any area in Taiwan for years. Nearby is Taiwan’s largest naphtha cracking plant. The Yunlin County government commissioned an NTU professor to conduct research on the health risks posed to the residents of areas around the plant. Tonight, in part 2 of a continuing series, we take a closer look at the research report.



    This thick research report helped open the scientific discussion related to Formosa Petrochemicals’ No. 6 Naphtha Cracker and local residents’ health. National Taiwan University Professor Jhan Jhang-cyuan spent one year gathering information from the five neighboring townships of Mailiao, Lunbei, Taishee, Dongshih and Shihu. The report was commissioned by the Yunlin County government. It compiled information from the Department of Health, Ministry of the Interior and Bureau of National Health Insurance. The results showed an important discovery.



    Jhan Jhang-cyuan
    National Taiwan University
    If you look at the death rates from malignant tumors and lung cancer in Taishee Township from the fourth to the sixth year of operations, they’re obviously higher than the first three years. So the longer operations have been going on, the higher the rate of cancers in Taishee Township, particularly lung cancer. The rate of liver cancer in Taishee and Mailiao townships both before and during the operation period is higher than other townships we looked at. So it’s correct to say that the rates of liver and other types of cancers are high in Yunlin County, but since the No. 6 Naphtha Cracker they’ve become even higher.


    The petrochemicals industry possesses many cancer-causing agents. Among them is vinyl chloride monomer, which is a raw material for plastic and has been connected to liver cancer. The oil refining process produces byproducts such as benzene and acetic acid that have been shown to be related to leukemia.


    Petrochemical plants often emit polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be closely associated with lung cancer. Professor Jhan also examined air quality reports from the Environmental Protection Administration and data from the Bureau of National Health Insurance. He discovered that more people were hospitalized for breathing difficulties when emission levels of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and other similar gases were high. There were also more deaths.



    Jhan Jhang-cyuan
    National Taiwan University
    Monitoring was performed every hour of every day for two years. The data was then applied to Taishee. It obviously showed that when the wind blew from between the northwest and northeast, (gas) concentrations would become very high. They could increase from 20 to 30 times or more above average.


    These scientific discoveries were completely in line with the experience of local residents. When the wind blew or the rain fell, their crops would suffer.



    Mr. Chen
    Erlun Township Farmer
    These (melons) can’t be harvested. It only needs to rain once and they will turn yellow and start to rot. These melons won’t grow large, all of them here. It just needs to rain once and the pollution will kill them.


    Crops like chrysanthemums will also begin to rot immediately after rainfall. The destruction of crops can be made up for by compensation payments, but human beings are a different matter. Although Erlun Township was not included in Jhan’s report, many of the same health issues are occurring there.


    Erlun Township Resident
    It might be factors such as the air or water, but we don’t have professional knowledge. If we blame the No. 6 Naphtha Cracker, they will tell us to bring forward our evidence.


    Reporters who seek the company’s side of the story always have trouble receiving a direct answer.


    Voice of Formosa Petrochemicals PR Rep.
    Generally speaking, (there are many causes of cancer). For example, even if you live in mountains where the air is very good, some people still get cancer. We don’t know why.


    Just when our investigation had seemed to reach an impasse, we acquired a copy of a survey from 2005 performed by the Industrial Development Bureau. The survey focused on the No. 6 Naphtha Cracker and the health risks of local residents. The report was marked “Restricted Reading.” It turned out that the bureau possessed relevant assessment reports years ago, but never made the results public. In our next installment we will take a look at the secrets inside the bureau’s report.
    中文 Chinese  
    煙囪下的嗚咽(2)

    六輕的所在地--雲林麥寮以及台西鄉,連續幾年,肝癌死亡率更高居全國之冠!針對這樣的現象,雲林縣政府委託台大教授進行的「健康風險-評估報告」出爐,報告中明確指出:石化工業區和居民的癌症發生率以及死亡率,有著顯著相關。這集要帶您來看看這份報告!


    就是這一本厚厚的研究報告,開啟了長久來不曾有過的科學對話,受雲林縣政府委託,台大教授詹長權花了一年的時間,針對六輕所在地麥寮鄉,以及周遭的崙背、台西、東勢、四湖等五個鄉鎮,匯整了衛生署、內政部及健保局相關資料,逐一進行比對,結果有了重大的發現。


    [[台大職業醫學與工業衛生研究所教授 詹長權]]
    你來看看就是,台西鄉的惡性腫瘤跟肺癌的死亡率,在運轉的第四到六年,顯著比運轉的第一到三年高,所以運轉後,運轉的時間愈久,整個台西鄉的癌症,特別是台西鄉的肺癌,是比較高的。台西、麥寮這兩個曝露鄉鎮的肝癌,在運轉前跟運轉期間,都比對照的(鄉鎮)還高,所以沒錯,雲林地區的肝癌,或是一些癌症本來就高,可是六輕(來)之後更高。


    其實石化業本身就是具有多種致癌物質的產業,像是做塑膠的原料,氯乙烯單體
    與肝癌有關,煉油業製造過程中產生的苯和乙酸丁二醯,證實與血癌有關。



    而石化產業常排放的多環芳香烴,則與肺癌有著密切的關連。詹長權教授也調閱了環保署空氣品質監測與健保局資料,發現當空氣中排放的二氧化氮、二氧化硫等氣體濃度愈高,民眾因呼吸道疾病住院和死亡的比例也愈高。


    [[台大職業醫學與工業衛生研究所教授 詹長權]]
    這個是經過二年,每天每小時的監測,這樣的資料放在台西測的結果,非常地明顯,也就是說當風是從西北到東北這個角度,吹下來的時候,它的濃度就變很高,可以高到平常的二、三十倍以上。


    這樣的科學發現,其實與居民長久以來的生活經驗,相當符合,風一吹、雨一下,
    農作物就遭殃。


    [[二崙鄉農民 陳先生]]
    這(香瓜)不能收成了,就是只要下一次雨,就一直變黃,一直腐爛,這些香瓜都不會長大,這些全部都是,只要一下雨,污染後就全完了。



    而像是茼蒿,下過雨後也是馬上腐爛,農作物損害大不了認賠,但活生生的人呢?雖然二崙鄉不在這次詹長權教授的研究範圍,但健康問題同樣發生在他們身上。


    [[雲林二崙鄉居民]]
    可能是空氣、水方面這些(因素),(但我們也沒專業知識),(如果)我們跟六輕這樣說(是他們造成的),他們會說你證據拿來。

    記者想要深入採訪,不過卻都得不到什麼答案。


    [[聲源:台塑總公司公關組 闕組長]]
    一般來講的話,(癌症發生的成因很多),比如說你住在山上,空氣很好,有些人也會得癌症,這我們不了解,(比較專業啦)。


    就在採訪陷入膠著之際,透過特殊管道,我們取得了另一份由經濟部工業局,在2005年所作的六輕與當地居民健康風險研究報告,封面上還有「限閱」二個字!原來早在幾年前,工業局就有相關的評估報告,卻一直都沒有曝光,下一集要帶您來看看,這裏頭有什麼不能說的秘密!
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