China Investigates Third Spate of Lead Poisonings; Widens Lead Industry Checks

The third case of mass of children has been discovered in Yunnan, Bloomberg reports:

A routine blood test conducted on 1,000 children in , capital city of Yunnan, found 200 who had “excessive” levels of lead in their bodies, the China Daily reported today, citing hospital director Wu Ling.

China has struggled to implement health standards at plants, with excessive lead found in toys and melamine-tainted milk and pet food killing children and dogs. Two smelters in Shaanxi and Hunan provinces were closed after more than 2,000 children were found to have “above-normal” levels of lead in their blood, according to Xinhua News Agency reports this month.

The children in Yunnan have lead levels higher than 100 micrograms per liter of blood, Wu said, according to China Daily. Results of a government investigation into the case are expected this week, the English-language newspaper said.

Meanwhile, the government announced it would carry out inspections of lead-producing provinces. From Reuters:

Beijing, which had already set a target of closing 600,000 tonnes of outdated lead capacity nationwide in the next few years, plans to send an inspection group to major lead producing provinces for environment checks after hundreds of children were poisoned in Shaanxi and Hunan last month, industry sources said.

The inspections could force local governments to close outdated smelters permanently, the sources said.

A senior industry official said eight Chinese departments had discussed on the plan endorsed by China’s cabinet, the State Council, and had not finalized the timeframe for the checks.

Channelnewsasia looks at the impact of the lead poisoning on its youngest victims.

September 1, 2009, 11:55 AM
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