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July 30, 2012

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Home » Metro » Environment

Shanghai to set strict limits on lead

Lead battery manufacturers and processors will face a tougher environmental protection rule from next month as Shanghai tightens lead pollutant management to protect people from poisoning.

Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau says the mandatory rule sets a maximum of all pollutants in line with the strictest limits at home and abroad.

The rule will also strictly regulate working procedures. All lead-related processing must be conducted in separated and enclosed workshops, plants should have no ventilation windows and all exits should be kept closed to prevent the spread of lead pollutants.

In February, 49 children in Kangqiao in the Pudong New Area were found to have high levels of lead in their blood and a major battery plant was found to be mostly responsible.

The new rule is aimed at preventing similar incidents from happening.

By last year, Shanghai had 17 companies involved in lead battery production, assembly or recycling. The city has carried out repeated inspections recently, said the bureau.

Shanghai Johnson Controls is one of the biggest car battery makers in China and the only local company involved in lead acid storage battery production, assembly and recovery in Kangqiao. It is a major discharger of lead in Kangqiao, city officials said.

Shanghai Xinmingyuan Automobile Parts Co Ltd was found to have used lead in its production lines without authorization and Shanghai Kangshuo Waste Recycling Co shouldered minor liability. All three businesses involved have been shut down for the time being.

In the lead poisoning case, Shanghai Johnson Controls International Battery Co Ltd was mainly responsible for the lead discharges, officials said. It discharged excess airborne lead as it expanded production without government permits, they said.

The 49 children, mainly between the ages of one and three, were found with excessive levels of lead in their blood in September 2011 in routine checks for kindergarten and primary school recruitment. The children had become ill after being exposed to a high level of lead, doctors said.

The dirt containing lead entered the children's bodies through the digestive system, they said.

Since children often put their fingers in their mouths, soil contaminated with lead could easily lead to poisoning.


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