Monday, August 10, 2009

Lead poisoning in rural Northern China

300 children in Northern China have suffered lead poisoning. The cause of the poisoning is said to be from inhaling the fumes of a factory close by.

Many areas in rural China have high polluting factories in an effort to bring development and jobs to the region. In some cases, China has put regulations on polluting and other safety measures aside in order to speed development in the country.

From the The Daily Star, this AFP story tells us what is being released from China's state media on the subject.

The children, all living alongside the Changqing industrial park in Fengxiang county, Shaanxi province, were found to have as much as twice the safe level of lead in their blood, the China Daily said.

They sleep more than before, cannot concentrate and react very slowly, the report said, citing local residents.

Normal lead content in the blood is below 100 milligrams per litre, and above 200 milligrams is considered hazardous, but the lead in some of the youngsters' blood was more than 250 milligrams per litre, it said.

Local residents believe that the Shaanxi Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Factory, only about 500 metres (yards) from their homes, was to blame for the poisoning, the paper said.

The factory had been required to help relocate nearby residents, but so far only 100 out of nearly 600 households had been able to move, as most villagers lacked the money for new homes, the paper said.

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