China schools ordered to remove toxic running tracks


BEIJING (AP) — China’s Education Ministry has ordered schools to remove running tracks made from toxic materials that have been blamed for sickening students.

A ministry statement said nationwide inspections have been ordered over the summer school break. One Beijing school has already begun tearing up its track after students fell ill.

Construction of new tracks will be suspended while contractors are vetted. Amid a heat wave, tracks made from recycled tires and other industrial waste are believed to have caused dizzyness, nosebleeds and respiratory problems among students in Beijing and several outlying provinces.

The ministry’s statement issued late Wednesday also ordered investigations to find officials seen as negligent or corrupt and vowed to punish them severely “with no mercy given.”

China has suffered recurrent consumer safety scandals linked to weak oversight.

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