Sand mining threatens ancient Cham tower

Published: 12/07/2011 05:00



Parents have been advised to use electric not mercury thermometers when taking their children’s temperature or testing the heat of their babies’ milk.

At risk: The remnants of a Cham Yang Pong Tower dedicated to the god Shiva, built in the eighth century in Ea Sup District of the Central Highlands province of Dac Lac, is in danger of being swept away by an adjacent river. — File Photo

This follows the hospitalisation of 10 children from mercury poisoning. They were taken to the National Paediatrics Hospital here last month where a doctor, Luu Thi My Thuc, laid the blame on adult carelessness.

She said most of the children experienced vomiting, dizzy spells and convulsions.

Thuc added that parents should use electric thermometers instead of mercury ones to avoid any accidents.

Parents were warned that if they use mercury thermometers to take the temperatures of milk that the instrument can break if it gets hotter than 40 degrees Celsius, filling the milk with poison.

Nguyen Thi Ha, the mother of one of the patients, said she used a mercury thermometer to check her son’s high temperature. However, the boy bit the instrument and swallowed some mercury.

“One day later I had to take him to hospital as he was shivering and refused to eat,” she said.

Bui Thi Lan, from the northern province of Vinh Phuc, whose son was also poisoned with mercury, blamed a domestic worker with her family.

“One day, the heat broke the thermometer. My son played with the mercury with interest as it looked like small balls,” she said.

Three days later, the boy’s temperature soared.

Doctor Thuc said that all of the children received special transfusions to prevent cardiac collapse.

Fortunately, they had only consumed or breathed in small amounts of mercury and all recovered within two or three days. No serious after affects were reported.

“About 50mg of mercury can damage the brain and liver as it evaporates at about 30 degrees Celsius,” said Thuc.

It is not so dangerous if mercury enters the body through the digestive system. But if breathed in, mercury will damage the nervous and endocrine systems and affect jaw muscles. It also cause amnesia, difficult breathing, burning pain in the lungs - and oral and bowel inflammation.

Deputy head of the hospital’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Ward Nguyen Van Tu said if children drank milk mixed with mercury, parents should not stick their fingers down the child’s throat or beat their chest because the children could choke, making the mercury overflow into their lungs.

To help it eliminate quickly, parents should make their children drink as much water as possible.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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