Thirty-four students and a teacher from a village primary school
in north China's Hebei Province have been hospitalized with lead
poisoning at a Beijing hospital, authorities said.
The group is now at the Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, an
institution well known for its treatment of poisoning cases, said
Ma Dejun of the government press office in Hebei's Xinglong
Dozens of students in Grade Two fell sick and began to vomit
after complaining about a strange smell last Monday morning in
Shapoyu Village, Xinglong County, Chengde City. A lead smelter is
located in the village.
So far, 126 other students and villagers who came to Beijing for
medical examinations were released after doctors found lead levels
in their blood to be normal, Ma told China Daily.
Meanwhile, 99 students who chose to stay in the village after
feeling ill had blood tests done on Friday by experts from Chaoyang
Hospital. “The partial results we have now are all normal,” Ma
But he noted that complete test results are not yet
The 34 students and one teacher hospitalized in Beijing are
stable and no longer showing symptoms of poisoning, sources at
Chaoyang Hospital said.
Gao Xing, director of the Beijing Municipal Preventive Medicine
Research Center, which analyzed the students' blood, pointed out
that although the 35 patients were found to have abnormally high
lead levels, this does not necessarily mean they were poisoned by
“Diagnosing a person with lead poisoning requires three factors:
laboratory examination results, clinical symptoms and physical
condition,” he explained.
Gao said that there is no national standard for a child's blood
lead level. The current standard used for classifying normal or
abnormal, 100 micrograms per liter of blood, was introduced from
The State Environmental Protection Administration has designated
the Hebei provincial bureau as the agency to conduct an
investigation into the Shapoyu Village to find causes for the
The Chengde Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau also has
sent officials to collect air and water samples.
Shapoyu villager Jiang Zhantong wrote a letter to the Secretary
of the Xinglong County Party Committee, Wu Haihui, asking the
government to help close down the iron mines in the village.
“Private bosses of the mines have not adopted any measures to
prevent pollution of the air and water,” he said.
Wu Haihui has made a public apology to villagers and said the
county government is responsible for the accident. He stated that
if the cause is confirmed to be pollution from the lead smelter,
the smelter owner will cover the medical fees of the victims. If
not, the government will pay the hospital bills.
(China Daily March 22, 2004)