Battery Factory Sickens 24 Children In China

Twenty-four children are in the hospital in Anhui getting treatment for lead poisoning, and more than 200 have been affected, the result of living near an illegal battery factory, NPR reports:

The official Xinhua News Agency said local authorities shut down the Borui Battery Co. Ltd. and another battery factory it did not name in Anhui province’s Huaining county after tests found that at least 200 local children had elevated lead levels, with 24 between the ages of nine months and 16 years requiring hospitalization.

Borui had failed to pass necessary environmental checks and was operating illegally, Xinhua said.

It said both factories were just across the street from a residential area despite regulations that battery plants must be at least 1,600 feet away. It did not say when the factories started operating, or what kind of batteries they produced.

The report did not explain how the children were exposed, but battery factories can pollute the air and soil with their emissions.