Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Beijing, China (AFP) July 9, 2012
Twelve factories in eastern China were closed down after children living nearby were found to have high levels of lead in their blood, state press reported Monday.
While local authorities sought to downplay the significance of the shutdown, it is the latest in a string of incidents to highlight the increasing environmental and health costs of rampant economic development across China.
"All 12 factories, related to metals, chemicals and recycled paper, have been halted for investigation," the government of Jian city said in a statement carried in the state-run press on Monday.
The controversy surfaced when a boy living near the industrial park containing the factories was found last month to have higher-than-normal levels of lead in his blood, the China Youth Daily reported.
After a further 15 children were discovered to have excess lead levels, worried parents lobbied local authorities to close the factories, according to the report.
Prolonged exposure to lead can cause nausea and pain within the body, and may damage the heart and kidneys and harm fertility, according to the US Center for Disease Control.
While the government bowed to community pressure in closing the factories, the Jian city government said there was no evidence to show lead had leached out of the industrial park.
It added that the factories had only been closed temporarily.
Grassroots environmental activism is growing in China, with protests against polluting industries occurring frequently across the country.
Violent protests last week by thousands of people in the southwestern city of Shifang forced authorities there to cancel plans for a $1.6 billion heavy metals plant.
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|