China Environmental News Digest

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Monday, November 06, 2006

47 children confirmed with excessive lead in E. China

(Xinhua)
Updated: 2006-11-05 09:05

YOUXI -- Forty-seven children in a primary school have been confirmed as having excessive lead in blood in east China's Fujian Province, local sources said on Saturday.

All the children were diagnosed as having over 100 gammas of lead per liter of blood after undergoing tests twice by local authoritative medical institutions, said a spokesman for the information department of Youxi County.

A seven-year-old boy surnamed Luo has been hospitalized for moderate lead poisoning, according to the spokesman. The boy was diagnosed as having 261 gammas lead per liter of blood.

Luo is now receiving treatment at Youxi Hospital.

The other 46 children had blood lead levels of 100 to 199 gammas per liter.

All the children were from the Qili Primary School, in the Qili Village. Two tests by the Disease Prevention and Control Center of Sanming City showed that they had excessive lead in blood.

The center conducted the first blood test for 139 students from the school on Oct. 17. Eighty-two were found with excessive lead in blood. A second test by the center on Oct. 24 confirmed 47 children had excessive lead in blood.

The center has also conducted blood lead tests for more than 50 children under the age of four in the village. But the results have not come out, according to the center.

According to the national diagnosis standard, a child whose blood lead is 100 to 199 gammas per liter in two consecutive vein blood tests should be confirmed as having high blood lead.

Blood lead level between 250 and 449 gammas per liter is moderate lead poisoning.

Excessive amount of lead in the body harms the nervous and reproductive systems and can cause high blood pressure and anemia. In severe cases, it can lead to convulsions, coma and even death.

The Meiheng Smelting Co., Ltd. in the village was suspected to be the source of the children's excessive lead in blood, according to local environmental authorities.

Environmental authorities had ordered the factory to stop production after they found it still used sintering pots, a banned smelting technique that may cause serious pollution.

The county has set up a special team comprised of people from environmental protection, health, work safety and education departments to investigate the case.

In September, a total of 954 children in northwest China's Gansu Province were confirmed as having excessive lead in their blood. At least 250 of them were hospitalized.

The source of the Gansu case was later confirmed to be the Huixian County Non-Ferrous Metal Smelting Co., Ltd. The factory's waste disposal equipment did not meet national standards.

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