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Deaths from chemical accidents jump in 2012
SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) -- The number of deaths from chemical accidents soared nearly 40 percent in 2012 from a year earlier amid a spate of fires, explosions and gas leaks at industrial plants across the country, government data showed Monday.

   A total of 98 people were killed in chemical accidents last year, up 38 percent from 71 a year earlier, according to the data by the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

   The number marked the highest level since 2008 when 112 such deaths were reported. The annual death toll from chemical accidents steadily declined from 2009-2011, ranging from 70 to 80 per year.

   The number of people injured in chemical accidents also gained 13.1 percent on-year to 1,113 last year.

   The rise in the death and injury counts was attributed to a string of deadly accidents at chemical factories last year. Among the deadliest was an eight-ton toxic acid leak at a plant in the southeastern city of Gumi in September, which killed five workers and injured 16 others.

   This year's casualties are feared to rise even further as the country has already suffered several chemical accidents so far this year.

   In January and May, three separate fatal gas leaks killed six workers and injured seven others in total. In March, nearly 200 people received medical treatment after a chlorine gas leaked at another chemical factory in Gumi.

   aracho430@yna.co.kr
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