TCM poisoning scandal continues to widen
A third traditional Chinese medicine clinic has been added to the list of places prescribing medicines to patients containing highly toxic cinnabar and lead tetroxide, which had led to many cases of organ failure and could potentially be fatal.
The number of people confirmed poisoned has risen to 28 as the scandal continues to widen.
The Taichung Legal Affairs Bureau has formed a task force to assist those who have been poisoned, working with the Consumers’ Foundation to help the people affected to seek compensation.
In addition, the National Union of Chinese Medical Doctors’ Association said that it would pay 50 percent of the costs for tests to detect heavy metals in blood that people seek through the Consumers’ Foundation.
According to the association’s Director-General, visits to traditional Chinese medicine clinics have dropped by 20 percent since these reports emerged.
The health department has continued to expand their testing, having tested at least 219 people to determine if they have elevated lead levels.
They have also conducted 242 inspections in 190 clinics.
The health department is also conducting traditional Chinese medicine safety seminars in all 29 districts based on a five step plan of “stop, look, listen, choose and use”.
Changhua health authorities are also conducting inspections at clinics across the county.
Households to lose water on Saturday
4234 households are to lose their water Saturday in a scheduled safety and inspection operation.
The water will be cut for 23 hours, starting Saturday morning at 8 am, and ending at 7 am on Sunday.
The area impacted is in the Xitun and Nantun Districts, in the area bounded by Taiwan Blvd in the north, AnHe Rd to the east and XiangShang Rd in the south.
Much of the Industrial Park and my office is in that area.
Major renovation project kicks off
The iconic and historic Taichu Prefecture Hall, later Taichung City Hall, has just been put under renovation.
The two year project will cost NT$630 million.
The designated National Historic Site was built in 1913 under the Japanese as an imposing government edifice to project imperial might.
Expansions brought it to its current scale in 1934.
In front of the hall can still clearly be seen where the horse-drawn carriages would pull up to the entrance.
After WWII it was designated city hall, which it remained until a few years ago.
With the new city hall, it is now referred to again as the Taichu–Japanese for Taichung–Prefectural Hall.
The renovation will include repairing leaks and tackling insect damage, both of which have raised structural integrity and safety concerns.
When finished, among other functions it will serve as an art performance space and gallery and host some city government offices.
Dangerous chemical removed from Taichung Port
Twenty containers of ammonium nitrate stored in the Port of Taichung have all been removed.
That’s following a tragic ammonium nitrate explosion that devastated Beirut in Lebanon damaging much of the city, leaving over 200 dead and thousands homeless.
Inspections by the Taiwan International Ports Corporation found that Pier 34 at the Port of Taichung stored the highest volume of imported ammonium nitrate in Taiwan.
An official said the stocks were probably intended for use in the manufacture of laughing gas, although the compound can also be used to make agricultural fertilizers and bombs.
Driver safety on the agenda
According to Taichung city statistics, the growing popularity of food delivery services has led to an unfortunate side effect: more accidents.
In the first half of the year there were 488 accidents involving a food delivery driver, leaving 667 injured.
That’s an average of 81 accidents and 111 injuries a month.
In response, the city is holding safety classes.
80 attended the first course.
Nantou also has traffic safety concerns.
Police have conducted a campaign on Hehuanshan (合歡山) in Nantou County to raise awareness about driving safety, warning tourists about the dangers of fatigue driving in a bid to reduce the high number of traffic accidents in the area.
It has been the location of many self-inflicted traffic accidents over the past few years, the county’s Traffic Police Brigade said.
About 70 percent of the deaths and injuries involved motorcycle riders, most aged 45 or younger, statistics showed.
Many people drive on mountain roads late at night to reach the top before sunrise, but they often have not slept, making fatigue driving the most common cause of self-inflicted accidents reported.
Nantou has a vine problem
If you want to make some money while out hiking, now is your chance.
Starting Monday, the Nantou Forest District Office will be paying residents NT$7 per kilogram for removal of a type of vine from the Nantou forest area.
The wild bitter vine is an invasive species that can smother other vegetation such as trees.
So, you can make money and save the trees at the same time.
Image courtesy of the Taichung City Health Dept Facebook page