Mass Fainting at Factory Blamed on Blood Sugar

Up to 100 workers at a Phnom Penh garment factory fainted on Monday, forcing the facility to shut down for the day, in a case that police say doctors blamed on low blood-sugar levels.

Theng Kosal, the police chief of Choam Chao commune in Pur Senchey district, said 79 workers passed out at the Chinese-owned New Orient (Cambodia) Garment Co.

factory at about 2 p.m. “It is not serious; the doctor said they had low sugar,” he said.

Mr. Kosal also blamed a lack of sleep.

Ek Pheakdey, an employee representing the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, claimed as many as 100 workers fainted, 40 of whom went to the hospital.

But he was reluctant to speculate on what happened.

“We are still looking for a cause…. One worker fainted and the others started fainting one after the other,” he said.

Ou Leng, listed as the company representative in the online directory of factories maintained by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, declined to comment.

Mass faintings are a recurring phenomenon in Cambodia’s garment factories and are often blamed on chemical fumes, poor ventilation and the nutrition of the workers.

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