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Protest against suspected lead pollution continues
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Protest against a battery factory that is suspected of lead pollution in east China continued Friday, as nearly 100 villagers gathered in front of the local government of Jiaoyang Township, Fujian Province.

The villagers demanded in their protest that the accused Huaqiang Battery Factory move out of the township. The crowd dispersed in the afternoon.

Amid fears of lead poisoning, hundreds of children were absent from the local primary school and kindergarten Friday.

At least four children in Jiaoyang have been found to have excessive levels of lead in blood, which their parents said was a result of pollution from the factory.

Officials from the governments of Longyan City and Shanghang County went to the township Thursday to talk with the villagers. However, both sides failed to reach an agreement.

The villagers blocked a highway for several hours Thursday morning, before they went to the township government to protest.

The county government has ordered its environmental protection bureau to beef up supervision on the plant.

The Shanghang County government said Thursday that among 72 children in Jiaoyang who had taken blood tests, four had excessive lead levels in their blood, or more than 100 mg per liter of blood, compared with the normal zero to 100 mg per liter. The other 68 children have 53 to 100 mg of lead per liter of blood.

(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2009)

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