The number of children living adjacent to a smelting plant in northwest China's Shaanxi Province exposed to high lead levels has risen to more than 600, government officials said yesterday.
Medical tests show that at least 615 children out of the 731 living in two villages near the smelter in Fengxiang County's Changqing Township have excessive amounts of lead in their blood, according to a news conference hosted by the county government.
A total of 166 children will be hospitalized and their medical expenses will be covered by the county government. The rest should be able to expel the lead from their bodies through treatment at home, officials said.
Medical authorities have expanded the test scope to more areas near the plant, which has been closed.
The environmental protection bureau in Baoji City ordered the closure of the Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co in Fengxiang County last Thursday.
(Shanghai Daily August 14, 2009)