954 children confirmed with excessive lead in blood
Updated: 2006-10-09 21:29
A total of 954 children have now been confirmed as having excessive lead in
their blood in Northwest China's Gansu Province following the results of the
latest round of mass tests, the provincial health bureau said Monday.
Local health authorities tested 1,789 blood samples over a period of 20 days
in Huixian County and found that 620 more children had more than 100 milligrams
of lead per liter of blood and 43 adults had over 400 milligrams of lead per
liter of blood. The bureau did not release any figures on the number of adults
whose levels stood between 100 and 400 milligrams of lead per liter of blood.
The number may rise further as more than 200 blood samples are yet to be
The bureau said 334 more children were earlier diagnosed as having over 100
milligrams of lead per liter of blood at the Xi'an-based Xijing Hospital in the
neighboring province of Shaanxi.
Some villagers told China Central Television (CCTV) last month that they did
not believe in the testing of local hospitals and had to travel about 300
kilometers to the Xijing Hospital.
A doctor at the hospital was quoted earlier as saying that 877 people in
Huixian county were found with over 100 milligrams of lead per liter of blood.
The patients, all from Xinsi and Mouba villages near Shuiyang Town, were
victims of a lead smelting plant that continued to operate this summer after
being told to cease production earlier this year.
Huixian County Non-Ferrous Metal Smelting Co., Ltd. failed to pass an
environmental assessment after its upgrade in 2004, and its waste disposal
equipment did not meet national standards.
The plant, which opened in 1996 and produced 5,000 tons of lead per year, was
demolished shortly after the exposure of the severe lead poisoning.
Excessive amounts 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.