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The World

February 07, 1988

Doctors and health officials in the Soviet city of Smolensk collaborated to cover up a mercury leak that affected the health of the city's children over a period of 20 years, according to Uchitelskaya Gazeta, a Soviet publication for teachers. The report said an investigation revealed that a now-closed light bulb factory was dumping untreated mercury waste into the Dnieper River. It said mercury concentrations in the river were 140 times greater than admissible norms. Children began suffering from loss of sight and other symptoms, but doctors--at the urging of local health officials--dismissed the problem, the report said.

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