Medical tests have shown at least 121 children living near a battery
plant in eastern China are suffering from lead poisoning, the latest in
a string of such cases that have affected thousands.
Two medical agencies tested 287 children under 14 years of age and
found 121 of them had excessive levels of lead in their blood, the
government of Shanghang county in Fujian province said in a statement
over the weekend. An investigation was ongoing, it said.
The statement said that 120 children had lead levels between 100
and 200 micrograms per liter of blood and one child had 218 mcg/l.
Normal lead content in blood ranges from zero to 100 mcg/l. Human health is affected when it exceeds 200 mcg/l.
Ten days ago, the government ordered the Huaqiang Battery Plant, the
suspected source of the lead pollution, to shut down after local
villagers approached authorities with test results showing lead
poisoning in some children, residents said.
"The battery plant should be shut down forever. It will destroy our
village if it reopens," villagers told China Daily, adding that the air
and water pollution caused by the plant is the biggest threat to their
A villager in his 40s surnamed Fu told China Daily yesterday that
they did not believe any medical tests taken by the local hospitals,
because many villagers found that test results from the local hospitals
are different than those taken out of the province.
"If the provincial hospital tested 60 to 80 mcg/l, hospitals outside
Fujian will be much higher," Fu said, adding that police officers in
his village are preventing residents from going outside the province
for medical tests.
Lin Xu, vice head of Shanghang county, said the government will
cover medical costs for lead poisoning treatment and test all children
under 14 living within 600 m of the plant.
Authorities have said rational demands from the victims will be met.
The Shanghang Huaqiang battery factory started operations in 2006
and its discharges have affected about 3,000 residents in three nearby
villages: Jiaoyang, Tangxia and Chongtou.
The local authorities have launched an investigation into the lead
poisoning scandal and have taken environmental protection measures
around the plant.
It will also hire a non-local qualified environmental evaluation agency to evaluate the plant's pollution.
China has reported clusters of lead poisoning cases this year in
provinces such as Shaanxi, Hunan and Yunnan, which has sparked angry
Excessive levels of lead in the body can harm the nervous and
reproductive systems, cause high blood pressure and anemia and, in
extreme cases, can lead to convulsions resulting in a coma or even
death, Wang Zhiguo, a doctor at the Longyan Health Center, told China
The Fujian case first came to light when student Fu Xiaohua began
suffering from diarrhea and dizziness. He was taken to a hospital in
the provincial capital of Fuzhou for tests at the end of last month.
The results showed the child had an excessive 144 mcg/l. Other
villagers followed and 80 out of 100 residents tested were found to
have high levels of lead in their blood.
From China Daily