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September 19, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Worried parents seek lead tests

WORRIED parents in Shanghai were taking their children to hospital for blood tests over the weekend following the shutdown of a lead battery plant in the Pudong New Area last week.

A total of 25 children living in Pudong's Kangqiao area were recently detected with excess levels of lead in their blood, and the Shanghai Johnson Controls International Battery Co, run by US-based Johnson Controls, was shut down last Wednesday.

Shanghai Xinmingyuan Automobile Accessory Co, in the same area, was ordered to cease lead-related operations.

Over the weekend many more children living in the Kangqiao area were taken to hospital by their parents.

"We usually received requirements for blood lead tests on children during school recruitment checks, while many children were taken here for voluntary tests this weekend," said Xia Lin from Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

More than 50 children were brought in for blood lead tests on Saturday, she said. Usually the hospital received about 10 such cases a day.

She said the hospital had made arrangements should there be a sudden increase in the number of parents asking for tests.

Officials at Xinhua Hospital said it usually received 30 children for blood lead tests a day, but that number rose to 60 over the weekend.

Test results usually take two to three days, doctors said.

Meanwhile, six of Shanghai's 17 lead-acid storage battery manufacturing, assembling and collecting plants had been shut down by yesterday under checks required by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Officials from Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said two plants were shut in May, while another four were ordered to stop production after the detection of lead poisoning in the Kangqiao children.

Officials said Johnson was the only major plant among the six closed, the other five battery plants were small.

District environmental protection bureaus are also screening plants that involve lead-related production. "There are few such plants, but some plants may be carrying out lead-related production without reporting it," said Wei Huajun from the city bureau.

"Xinmingyuan is an example," he said. "It never reported it had used lead."


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