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Parents fume at factories after 200 kids sickened

Children in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, have become the latest victims of a string of lead poisoning cases to hit China this month.

Medics at the Healthcare Center for Women and Children in Tongdu township, part of the city's Dongchuan district, found 200 out of 1,000 kids given routine blood tests between June and August had excessive levels of lead.

The normal lead content ranges from zero to 100 micrograms per liter of blood (mcg/l). A level of more than 100 mcg/l is excessive and more than 200 mcg/l is severe.

"About 200 children have excessive lead in their blood. Their levels are all higher than 100 mcg/l but lower than 200 mcg/l," hospital director Wu Ling told China Daily Sunday.

It is the third report of children suffering lead poisoning this month, with cases also exposed in Fengxiang, Shaanxi province, and Wugang, Hunan province, where around 2,100 youths living beside smelting plants have been affected, with 200 hospitalized.

Officials from the Ministry of Environmental Protection have handed the investigation into the Kunming case over to the local environmental protection bureau.

The results are expected this week, but a spokesman for the bureau at the weekend said the excessive levels of lead in the children's blood had been caused by factors such as car exhaust emissions, and had no direct link with industrial pollutants.

Parents in Tongdu disagreed and blamed the poisoning on a nearby industrial park.

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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