The number of Chinese children found with excess lead in their blood near a metal plant in central China has reached 1,354, state media said on Thursday, with new clashes between police and parents over pollution.
The rise in initial diagnoses of poisoning around the Wugang Manganese Smelting Plant in Hunan province adds to a recent rash of such cases, which have exposed growing tensions between local governments and residents over pollution, often from poorly regulated plants and factories with ties to local government.
The China Daily had said almost 100 of 600 children being tested near the Wugang plant had lead-poisoning.
But later in the day the official Xinhua news agency reported close to 70 percent of 1,956 children tested had more than 100 milligrams of lead in each litre of blood. It said final tests were still needed to confirm the cases.
Also from the New York Times:
Officials in Wenping, 970 miles south of Beijing, shut down the smelter, the Wugang Fine-Processed Manganese Smelting Factory, last week and detained two of its owners after about 1,000 local residents protested the poisoning, the English-language state newspaper China Daily reported.
The plant’s general manager remained at large.
Tests subsequently found elevated levels of lead in the blood of 1,354 children, or about 7 in 10 children who were examined, the official news agency, Xinhua, reported. The severity of the poisoning cannot be measured without further testing; 17 of the 83 children who received the advanced tests were hospitalized.
Read about the recent similar incident in Shaanxi via CDT.