Battery plant poisons more than 100 villagers in E. China province

16:41, March 25, 2011      

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Lead emissions from a battery plant located in a residential area has poisoned more than 100 villagers in east China's Zhejiang Province, local environmental authorities said Friday.

A total of 139 people from three villages in Luqiao District, Taizhou, were tested as having elevated lead blood levels, including 35 children, the Zhejiang Health Department said in a statement.

Three of the poisoned, all adults, had over 600 micrograms of lead per liter of blood, three times above the limit considered safe for humans, the statement said.

However, none of the 501 villagers tested were hospitalized as no symptoms of severe poisoning were found.

Local environment authorities said emissions of a nearby battery plant, Taizhou Suqi Battery Company, caused the poisoning.

"An inspection of the battery plant showed that lead readings in gas and water discharged from the plant exceeded the legal limit, which also resulted in excessive lead in the earth nearby," said Jiang Xincai, director of the Luqiao branch of Taizhou Environment Protection Bureau.

Groundwater, fruits and vegetables in the area were probably polluted by lead, said the bureau, suggesting villagers refrain from eating them.

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Source: Xinhua
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