Officials in southeastern China acknowledged on Saturday that 121 children living near a battery plant had excessive lead in their bloodstreams, according to the state news media.
Xinhua, the official news agency, said that nearly half the children who were tested last week in Longyan City in Fujian Province showed abnormally high levels of lead, which can cause developmental problems in children as well as a host of other ailments, including anemia, stomach pain and brain damage.
Last month, health officials in Hunan Province revealed that more than 1,300 children living near a manganese processing plant had lead poisoning. The disclosure came a few days after 850 children in rural Shaanxi Province were found to have been contaminated by lead levels so high that 174 of them had to be hospitalized.
The authorities in Shaanxi, in north-central China, blamed a zinc and lead smelting facility, which has since been closed, for the poisonings. Last week officials announced a $29 million relocation project to move 1,400 families who lived near the smelter to an entirely new community farther away.