Shanghai families: Kids poisoned by lead

2011-09-15 15:27

Shanghai - Families living in one of Shanghai's many industrial suburbs say their children are suffering from lead poisoning from nearby factories and recycling facilities.

Officials did not respond to calls on Thursday requesting comment after families in Kanghua New Village complained that recent checks showed many of their children were suffering from blood lead levels up to 10 times the legal limit.

The soaring use of cars and electric scooters, two of the most sought-after accoutrements of affluence in China, is driving strong demand for lead acid batteries.

But the production and recycling of those batteries and of other electronics components poses a growing environmental threat at a time when government leaders are striving to deliver more sustainable, people-oriented economic growth.

Residents say Kanghua New Village, compact community of modest but modern apartment blocks, was built about 15 years ago to house families moved off farmland to make way for the Kangqiao Industrial Zone.

US factory near by

The source of the lead contamination was not immediately clear, but the village is located just north of the factory zone, amid corn and vegetable fields and older rural housing, and beside chemical, battery and electronics equipment factories.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls Inc which operates a battery factory nearby, said it was aware of residents' concerns about lead exposure.

"We acknowledge and take these concerns very seriously. We are working with the government to understand and address these issues. However, we have no reason to believe we are the source of the issue," the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Johnson Controls' battery plant was named a "national model enterprise for occupational health and safety" in 2006, it said.

The factory has lead emissions at about one-seventh the Chinese national standard and employees are regularly tested to ensure their blood lead levels remain low enough, the company said.

On Wednesday evening, residents gathered in the village courtyard and playground were eager to show visitors their children's lab reports, showing blood lead levels of 500 micrograms per litre and higher.

The legal limit for children is 100 micrograms per litre; none of those tested had levels below 200 micrograms per litre, and most were in the 300-400 micrograms per litre range.

Decades of disregarding safety standards

Those results differed from a batch of identical tests done just a week later that showed no abnormalities - leading some residents to suspect that the second round of tests showing normal results were falsified.

"All the earlier reports were very high and the later reports were under the limit. We don't trust the hospital at all," said one resident, who asked only to be identified by her surname, Cai, because of fears of reprisals.

"They should never have built the village right here by the factories. There are battery and recycling factories all around," she said.

Lead poisoning can damage the nervous, muscular and reproductive systems, and children are particularly at risk.

Decades of allowing manufacturers to disregard safety standards, and of heavy reliance on coal, have left much of the country contaminated by toxic metals and chemicals.

Earlier this year, China began cracking down on emissions of lead and other heavy metals following a spate of poisoning cases, mostly in rural areas near factories. Reports of clusters of cases in big cities like Shanghai are uncommon.

Shanghai has moved much of its heavy industry to its sprawling suburbs, but the city of 23 million is so heavily populated that residential areas are still relatively close to factories.

- AP

Read more on:    china  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.