Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) yesterday said the government should convene a committee to look into the controversy about the likely relocation of Ciaotou Elementary School’s (橋頭國小) Syucuo (許厝) branch, as the company has doubts over the research results by the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) against FPG’s manufacturing unit in Yunlin County.
FPG’s call came after the Executive Yuan on Monday said that students at the school, which is 900m from FPG’s naphtha cracker in Yunlin’s Mailiao Township (麥寮), are to be transfered to Fongrong Elementary School in Lunbei Township (崙背), to avoid exposure to pollutants from the cracker.
The Cabinet’s decision was based on a study by the NHRI, which said urine tests conducted on students at Ciaotou Elementary School showed higher levels of thiodiglycolic acid (TdGA) — an indicator of exposure to vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) — than students in other schools.
Given that FPG’s naphtha cracker produces VCM, the main material used for polyvinyl chloride products, the company was blamed for the high TdGA levels.
“We impose strict controls on the plant’s emissions and the monitoring figures are all under pollution control standards,” Formosa Plastics chairman and president Jason Lin (林健男) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
The group has doubts about the figures and indicators used in the study by NHRI, Lin said, adding that the government should form a committee to clarify the concerns and publish the research results for further examination.
The company said the NHRI’s research results do not prove that the students’ TdGA levels were caused by VCM, as there are multiple pollutants that might lead to higher levels of TdGA.
TdGA can come from a variety of sources, including second-hand smoke, vehicle emissions and vitamin B complex, but the research excluded these factors, FPG said.
It carries out yearly examinations of the workers at the plant to monitor their health, the firm said.
The highest level of VCM that FPG has found in its employees at the plant was 58 parts per billion (ppb), much lower than the government’s standard of 3,000ppb, the company said in a statement.
People who are not at the plant would be exposed less than the workers, Lin said.
Lin said that as there are no international standards for testing VCM levels, the group hopes that the government resolves the controversy.
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) plans to reopen its guestrooms in December to take advantage of a boom in domestic travel. The reopening would come six months after the five-star facility suspended room operations to cut costs as countries across the region impose border controls to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, diminishing demand for business travel. “We are delighted to share that Mandarin Oriental Taipei will resume room operations on December 1,” the hotel said in a statement yesterday. The hotel in Songshan District (松山) said it would adopt stringent health and safety practices to ensure the well-being of its guests and employees. It
HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) has approved two sustainability-linked loans totaling NT$450 million (US$15.55 million) for Taya Group (大亞集團) and Sinbon Electronics Co (信邦電子), the bank said yesterday, adding that interest rates would fall if the borrowers’ sustainability performance improves. Those marked the first sustainability-linked loans granted by HSBC Taiwan, it said. While HSBC Taiwan has experience providing green loans for the nation’s developers of renewable energy sources to support their projects, the bank began focusing on sustainability-linked loans to meet rising demand from companies in other sectors planning to undertake sustainability programs, it said. “As we reward our clients who reach their
‘NEW TRAVEL MARKET’: The carrier initially planned to lay off about 8,000 people globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its workforce Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) would cut 6,000 jobs and close its Cathay Dragon brand, the South China Morning Post reported, as part of a strategic review to combat the unprecedented damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hong Kong-based airline is expected to officially announce the plan after the market close today, the newspaper said. It initially planned about 8,000 layoffs globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its total workforce, including about 5,000 jobs in Hong Kong, it said. The company, which posted a HK$9.9 billion (US$1.3 billion) loss in the first half, has for months
LEANNESS-ENHANCING DRUG: Assigning a commodity classification to meat containing ractopamine could come under scrutiny by the WTO, the economic affairs minister said Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday rejected opposition lawmakers’ calls to assign a product code for US pork and beef containing ractopamine. Facing a barrage of questions from lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee, Wang said that giving meat containing residues of ractopamine a commodity classification code would sow confusion and could come under scrutiny by the WTO. “Ractopamine is not a [meat] product, it is an additive,” said Wang, when questioned by Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠). “If we had a serial code for every additive it would cause confusion. There is