Excessive lead levels found in 136 people living near battery plant in south China

08:11, May 20, 2011      

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A total of 136 people residing near a battery plant in south China's Guangdong Province have been found to have excessive lead levels in their blood as of Thursday, according to local authorities.

Those with excessive lead levels live near Heyuan Sanwei battery Co., Ltd. in Linjiang Township, Zijin County in Guangdong's Heyuan City.

Workers with the county's health bureau conducted blood tests on 1,468 residents near the battery plant after media reports of a similar case in eastern Zhejiang Province earlier this month, said a spokesman with the county's government.

Among the 136 people with dangerously high lead levels, 59 were diagnosed with lead poisoning, said the spokesman, without clarifying the criteria for lead poisoning.

He said the government would pay for all patients'medical expenses.

A Xinhua reporter at the site said the battery plant had suspended operations on Thursday.

Further, the county government sent an investigation team to the company and detained its legal representative, said the spokesman.

Excessive amounts of lead can damage the digestive, nervous, and reproductive systems and cause stomach aches, anemia and convulsions.

Source: Xinhua
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