Team investigate poisoning

13:37, May 18, 2011      

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Parents and their children wait in Guangzhou Children's Hospital in Guangzhou, capital city of South China's Guangdong province, on Sunday. Dozens of children from villages in the local Linjiang township were brought to the hospital to check the lead content in their blood. New Express Daily

A specialist medical team arrived in this mountainous city on Tuesday to help treat people suffering from lead poisoning.

All the victims are from Daling village in the Linjiang township of Zijin county under the administration of Heyuan. Daling village, which has a total of 329 registered households, is located near the Sunnway Battery Co Ltd, the company suspected of being responsible for the lead poisoning.

Health authorities have collected 1,433 blood samples so far. As of Monday night, the lead content of blood sample from 45 people, 44 children and an adult in Heyuan city, were found to exceed the national standard.

Some of the children have been sent to Guangzhou Children's Hospital in the provincial capital where medical technologies and conditions are much better for treatment. But the hospital has refused to reveal details.

Peng Jianwen, the acting mayor of Heyuan, said his city's public health department and hospitals would do what they can to help treat the patients.

"All the patients have now been sent to hospitals and they will all have free medical treatment," Peng said.

Meanwhile, environmental protection experts from both the central and provincial governments were sent to Heyuan in northern part of Guangdong on Tuesday morning to further investigate the lead poisoning case caused by the local battery company.

"The case will be investigated to the fullest extent, " said Peng.

Sunnway Battery Co Ltd has now been ordered to stop production while the investigation is carried out.

Relevant government departments will soon launch a citywide inspection campaign to investigate companies for possible rule violations. And any persons and companies found to have discharged poisonous gases and liquids will be severely punished, Peng added.

"The introduction of clean production technologies is an important means of reducing the discharge of poisonous gases, solids and liquids," said Qiu Dingfan, an academician from the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Located in the Jingshui industrial zone in Linjiang township, Sunnway Battery Co Ltd, with an investment of 30 million yuan ($4.6 million), mainly produces lead acid batteries for vehicles. The company passed the environmental protection acceptance test in 2008.

In addition to domestic markets, it exports products to 250 nations and regions around the world.

Heavy metal pollution cases have been on the rise in China in recent years. According to Legal Weekly, the country reported more than 30 serious lead poisoning cases since 2009 and the figure was nine in 2010 alone.

Source:China Daily
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