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Lead poisoning persists in relocation site, villagers claim

About 1,000 people in Fengxiang county, Shaanxi province, who are to be relocated due to lead poisoning that sickened 615 children, may face a new threat of lead contamination, villagers said yesterday.

Some children who have lived close to the relocation site since 2004 showed high concentrations of lead in their blood as well, some parents told China Daily yesterday.

Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Factory is mainly to blame for the lead poisoning incident in Fengxiang, Shaanxi province, environment authorities said on Saturday.

The county government promised last week to speed up relocation and to ensure that all the remaining 425 families would be relocated to a new site 1,350 m away from the smelter within two years.

In 2004, the government moved about 100 families who were living close to the plant to the relocation site. Plans to relocate more families living near the plant stalled afterward.

"The medical test made by doctors from Xi'an last week showed that about 20 out of 30 children here have excessive lead in blood and 10 have more than 200 mg lead in blood per liter," said Zhang Yongxiang, a parent who moved to Yuanshang five years ago.

"One girl in our yard has been taken to Fengxiang Hospital for treatment because her lead content is 306 mg per liter," he said.

The normal lead content in blood ranges from 0 to 100 mg per liter. It is harmful to people's health if the content is higher than 200 mg per liter. Usually, children are more vulnerable to excessive lead than adults.

"It's not safe here," Zhang told China Daily. "So it's not appropriate to move the rest of the families here."

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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