The story appears on

Page A2

August 10, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro

Outrage over lead levels in kids

HUNDREDS of children in a northern China county were found to have excessive lead levels in their blood, possibly linked to a nearby lead plant.

At least 300 children in two villages in Fengxiang County of Shaanxi Province were detected with excessive lead in their blood, while some were diagnosed with lead poisoning, the Chengdu Business Daily reported yesterday, citing villagers.

Shaanxi's health department has sent staff from a hospital in Xi'an, the provincial capital, who are collecting children's blood samples, the newspaper said.

Their assignment to take blood from all of the 864 children aged under 14 who live in the two villages is expected to be completed next week, and the result will be published three to four days after that.

The local environment watchdog is collecting air, soil and water samples in both villages for tests.

In babies and young children whose brains are still developing, even a small amount of lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems as well as developmental delays, medical experts say.

Lead levels in the blood of Sun Jintao, 8, and his cousin, Sun Jinyang, 6, were 239 micrograms per liter and 242 micrograms per liter.

The maximum acceptable level under national guidelines is 100 micrograms.

Sun Jintao was short and lean, weighing no more than 25 kilograms, while his cousin was suffering "hair abnormalities," the report quoted Xue Yani, Sun Jintao's mother, as saying.

Xue took the pair to doctors on July 6 and the ensuing diagnosis raised villagers' concerns further as a girl, Miao Fan, 6, was also found to have lead poisoning in March.

Many villagers took their children to hospitals in Baoji, a city in Shaanxi, and test results showing high lead levels sparked outrage over the lead plant nearby.

Madaokou Village and Sunjianantou Village of Changqing Township are near an industrial park where the Dongling smelting plant for lead production is located.

Former plant employee Feng Yungang, 23, from Madaokou Village, had 1,100 micrograms of lead per liter of blood when tested in May.

Some of his colleagues were tested and had lead per liter of blood of between 400 micrograms and 800 micrograms.

Villagers staged a protest on August 3 asking for a response from the plant.

However, an executive with the plant insisted that its waste was discharged according to national standards. A skirmish then broke out between villagers and plant workers.

The county government has promised that the blood tests for children and any treatment needed will be free.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend