Villagers protest against suspected lead poisoning

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, September 18, 2009
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Hundreds of residents in a township in east China's Fujian Province gathered in front of the local government Thursday afternoon in protest of suspected lead poisoning.

The protest took place in Jiaoyang Township, Shanghang County, after at least four children were found to have excessive levels of lead in blood. Villagers believed what happened on their kids was caused by pollution from the local Huaqiang Battery Factory.

Officials from the Longyan City and Shanghang County governments 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 in the morning.

Amid lead poisoning fears, 136 students were absent from the Central Primary School of Jiaoyang Township Thursday and 140 others from the local kindergarten. The primary school's headmaster Zou Chaolin said more students were absent Wednesday.

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

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

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