industrial disasters-toxicity research

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- The government plans to set up a new research center to more thoroughly investigate the link between long-term exposure to industrial chemical materials and cancer and other fatal diseases, officials said Sunday.

The state-run Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency said it will establish a new laboratory by 2015, which will be entirely devoted to studying subchronic inhalation toxicity related to chemicals used at various workplaces and plants.

The new research center will facilitate compensation for industrial disaster victims, including some leukemia-stricken employees of local chip plants, agency officials said, noting prevention of industrial disasters will be made easier.

The construction of the 37 billion won (US$33.6 million) toxicity research center will be completed at the Daedeok Science Town in Daejeon, 150 kilometers south of Seoul, by 2015, with its opening slated for 2016, they added.

The new center will conduct about 15 experiments on various unidentified toxic materials used in the information telecommunications industry, such as nano-sized particles, indium and rare earth metals, as well as state-designated chemical materials, the officials said.

In addition, it wil conduct human toxicity tests on new chemical materials handled by local electronics, automotive and tire plants, they added.

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