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China cancer villages caused by same heavy metal once sprayed on US crops


(NaturalNews) Folks unfortunate enough to live in so-called "cancer villages" throughout China are turning up ill as a result of perpetual exposure to arsenic, indicate new reports. Industrial pollution from years of chemical mining have poisoned entire villages, leaving residents stricken with everything from skin lesions to cancer.

One such resident is Xiong Demin, an elderly man from the Heshan village in China's Hunan province who developed cancer after working in local mines for more than three decades. According to Reuters, Demin and his wife both developed the condition, which they say was caused by the mining and processing of realgar, or "ruby sulfur," throughout the area.

Often used as a color pigment and in the production of fireworks, realgar is composed of arsenic sulfide, which has been linked to lung and other forms of cancer. Despite its attractive, reddish color, realgar is highly poisonous to humans, particularly when exposure is ongoing over the course of many years.

"She and I wake up every day just to await death, there is nothing we can do, there is no hope," lamented Demin to media sources about his and his wife's conditions, which include persistent warts on the belly, back and legs.

World Health Organization admits arsenic causes cancer

Though Chinese officials put a stop to all realgar mining operations in 2011 due to the immense pollution they caused, chronic toxicity is still a problem in many towns and villages throughout the country. In Heshan, persistent dust and runoff from holding tanks where realgar was manufactured continue to plague the environment, damaging crops and harming people living nearby.

"For the future, we will just hang on for as long as we can," said Wen Ji, Demin's wife, to Reuters. The couple's children have since moved out of the area for their own safety, but Demin and Ji continue to live alone in the two-story house they built with money earned while Demin still worked at the toxic mine.

"[T]here's not much money for medicines... [but] I've been buying some sleeping pills."

Arsenic lurking all across America due to toxic crop sprayings

It might be tempting to look at this dire situation in China and think that nothing like this could ever happen in America. But as we reported earlier in the year, America's heartland is teeming with arsenical compounds that were once used as pesticides and herbicides on industrial crops, but that have since been retired.

Just like in China, heavy metal residue from previous industrial operations has created a toxic legacy throughout much of the country. Soil, ground water and even private well water in some areas is testing positive for arsenic, and food crops being grown right now, particularly rice grown in the South, are pulling this cancer-causing metal right out of the ground and into our food supply.

Just last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) looked into the arsenic levels found in domestic rice and made a shocking discovery. Among the more than 1,300 samples of rice and rice-based products tested by the agency, nearly all of them tested positive for arsenic, with the highest levels identified in so-called "healthy" brown rice.

Factory-farmed chicken is another major source of arsenic, as many commercial chicken feed products contain added arsenic.

"The chickens are fed the organic version of arsenic, for growth promotion and disease protection," admitted Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety for the Consumer Reports' policy division Consumers Union, to USA Today. "[Arsenic] passes out as manure which is used as a [crop] fertilizer."

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