Doctors found excessive lead in the blood of 138 children in two villages in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, said local authorities Friday.
The Madaokou village and Sunjianantou village of the Changqing Township are located near an industrial park, and villagers suspect that the excessive lead is caused by pollution, said an unnamed official with the publicity department of Fengxiang county government.
Miao Fan, a six-year-old girl, was diagnosed as gastritis resulted from lead intoxication in March. Other anxious villagers soon took their children aged between one to 14 to local hospitals for tests.
A total of 239 children were checked.
Villagers staged a protest on Monday asking for reply from the Dongling Smelting Plant, which they suspect to be the origin of pollution. But a staffer with the plant insisted their waste was discharged according to national standard.
Local health authorities have cooperated with the Central Hospital in Xi'an, Shaanxi's capital, to conduct an examination for all the 864 children in the township which governs the two villages.
Environmental protection departments are also collecting air, soil and water samples in both villages for tests.
Excessive amount of lead in the body harms the nervous and reproductive systems and can cause high blood pressure and anemia. In severe cases, it can lead to convulsions, coma and even death.
(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2009)