Yet these cases are far from unique. Interviews this weekend showed that lead poisoning is endemic among villages near Chinese smelters.
In Fengxian, where smoke billows from a Dongling Group zinc smelter, two wan and listless toddlers were diagnosed with high levels of lead in their blood earlier this year. Villagers requested but did not get testing for 30 other children.
“These problems are really common actually. It’s just that the Dongling case in Changqing got some attention,” said a villager surnamed Tu. Older villagers developed circulatory problems and some workers at the plant got too sick to work.
“This environmental pollution is not unique to Fengxian. It’s all over.”