More Lead Poisoning Cases Reported In Central China

August 22, 2009 2:00 am Last Updated: September 29, 2015 5:00 pm

After the children lead poisioning incident was exposed in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, similar cases have been reported in central China's Hunan Province, according to a Taiwan FTV News report.

To date, the total number of child victims of lead poisioning in Shaanxi and Hunan provinces may have exceeded 2,200.

In July, a child from Hengjiang Village, Wugang City in Hunan Province, suffered from a high fever and symptons of anorexia. The child was disgnosed with lead posioning, which alarmed other villagers.

Official medical tests on nearly 2,000 local children confimed that over 80 of them had excessive amounts of lead in their blood, and some even showed twice the acceptable lead level. Over 1,300 children were “suspected” of having high levels of lead in their blood.

The pollution source, the nearby Wugang City Manganese Smelting Plant, was closed on August 13, and two responsible persons were arrested.

The factory started its operation in May 2008. According to the deputy director of the local enviromental protection bureau, Huang Wenbing, the plant did not pass the enviromental protection assessment and ignored notices from the bureau, the Economic Information Daily reported.

The incident forced Wugang authorities to issue a notice to stop production in seven other smelting plants in the area for bureau inspections.

Watch NTDTV report on "1,300 Hunan Children Sick with Lead Poisoning."

Although the local authorities offered to pay for the medical costs for children showing severe symptoms, over 1,000 Hengjiang villagers clashed with over 200 local officals and police on August 8.

The villagers doubted the local authorities' sincerity and their willingness to assist villagers to collect compensation from the factory. Test results from two hospitals designated by the local authorities gave inconsistent figures, according to the Economic Information Daily.

The latest official figures showed that in the lead posioning incident in Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, at least 851 children showed excessive lead levels, and 175 of them had severe lead poisoning.

Children suffering from lead poisoning can suffer symptoms of decreased immunity, diffiuculty in studying, low IQ, growth retardation, and even death.

Read the original Chinese article.