China's tap water cleared of benzene in some areas: Xinhua

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People line up to buy cartons of bottled water at a supermarket after reports on heavy levels of benzene in local tap water, in Lanzhou
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People line up to buy cartons of bottled water at a supermarket after reports on heavy levels of benzene …

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The Chinese city of Lanzhou has cancelled emergency measures in two districts after tests of water samples there found no more cancer-inducing benzene, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Residents in the northwestern city of Lanzhou, Gansu province, rushed to buy bottled drinks on Friday after authorities said benzene had been found in tapwater at 20 times above national safety levels.

The city government rolled out an emergency supply of free drinking water for the two districts after turning off water taps there. But by Saturday morning, the environmental monitoring department found no more benzene in four tests of samples taken from Chengguan and Qilihe districts, Xinhua said.

However, there were still traces of benzene found in water samples taken from Anning and Xigu districts.

Lanzhou, a heavily industrialized city of 3.6 million people in Ganzu in the northwest, ranks among China's most polluted centers.

The local environmental bureau has blamed a crude oil leak from a pipeline owned by a unit of China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) for the water contamination.

The leak poisoned the water source for a water plant, introducing hazardous levels of benzene, Xinhua said.

(Reporting by Fayen Wong; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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