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Smelting Tool Demolished for Lead Poisoning
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Eight sintering pots of a smelter company were forced to be demolished on Saturday as environmental protection authorities confirmed that they were the source of a lead-related pollution which sickened several hundred villagers in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Workers used gas welding to split the sintering pots, a main smelting tool of Huixian County Melting Plant for Colored Metal, which failed to go through environment-effect evaluation after its upgrade in 2004. And its waste disposal equipment did not meet national standards.

The smelter was blamed for sickening more than three hundred residents in Xinsi and Muba villages whose lead content in the blood was much higher than normal, many of whom went to the Xijing Hospital in Xi'an, capital of neighboring Shaanxi Province, 300 kilometers away from Huixian County, for examinations on blood lead levels.

A four-member team has been dispatched by the Ministry of Health on Saturday to Huixian County. Together with seven experts from the provincial health department, they will draft plans to speed the recovery of the victims, said a Huixian county government official.

(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2006)

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