Lead poisoning case reported in SW China

08:18, March 15, 2010      

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Ninety-four people, including 88 children, in southwest China's Sichuan Province, were found to have excessive levels of lead in their blood, local authorities said Sunday.

The children in Longchang County in Neijiang City suffer from slight to moderate lead poisoning, said Zhu Qishang, a medical expert from the No. 4 Huaxi Hospital, without elaborating.

The poisoning case was discovered when a resident in Zhoujiasi village was found to have excessive levels of lead in a health checkup and reported the matter to the county environmental protection bureau February 25.

The county authorities ordered shutdown of Zhongyi Alloy Co., a lead ingot producing company, and organized medical tests for 1,756 residents in four villages within a radius of 800 meters of the suspected source of pollution.

A total 1,599 residents have taken tests. Results for 854 of the test takers have come out, and 94 of them were found to have high levels of lead in their blood, Kang Houlin, a deputy county governor, told a press briefing Sunday.

Seven children are being treated in Chengdu, the provincial capital. The remaining are placed under home observation.

The government has handed out eggs and milk to the poisoned residents to help them ease the impact of lead on their health, Kang said.

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

Source: Xinhua
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