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TOP > E-B.Surviving Crisis(about the Kanemi Yusho Incident) > (1) Beginning
Surviving Crisis

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When and how did it happen ?

The Kanemi Yusho Incident occurred in 1968 (showa 43-nen) in West Japan, Fukuoka and Nagasaki prefectures. Many people suffered from the disease in the Shimogoto area (Goto-shi) too.
The pollutants were PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) and Dioxins mixed with a rice bran oil plant of the Kanemi warehouse company. At first, about 14,000 people took their cases to the courts. Since then, 1,900 of them have been officially recognized as Kanemi Yusho patients.

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Symptoms are ...

People who ingested this oil, commonly used for cooking, were hurt by its acute toxicity. Patients complaining of skin irritation and various visceral organ troubles appeared one after another. However, the causality between the troubling appearance of disease and the edible oil was not clear at that time.
Contaminated oil was sold in the marketplace and people who consumed it fell ill. Victims were afflicted with various health problems, such as skin pigmentation effects, an increased fetal death rate, and chronic acne.
In the early stages, the patients felt a deep sense of fatigue, and suffered from dermatitis in the form of pimples on the skin. This was followed by reports of hair loss, failure of eyesight, metamorphosis of bones, joint pains, etc.

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What are PCBs? What are dioxins?

Polychlorinated biphenyls are the formal name of PCBs. PCBs have notable features, such as heat resistance, insulation and chemical stability.

These useful characteristics of PCBs are not found in other substances. As such, PCBs were widely used in industrial applications, like dryers, TVs, curtains, cars and so on. PCBs, however, are very dangerous chemicals.

Dioxins are made in the process of heating PCBs up. They have no color and very low water solubility. They are well known as Defoliants used in Vietnam War by US Military Force. Dioxins are as dangerous as PCBs.

Kanemi Yusho Incident doesn't end

…The number of victims of the Kanemi Yusho Incident in Goto exceeded 14,000. More than 40 years have passed, yet the victims are still suffering from their injuries and waiting for full recognition and compensation. They have suffered not only from physical pains but also from prejudice. They have had to deal with all sorts of obstacles from getting a job to getting married. It is of utmost importance they get the full support of society.


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