China widens lead industry checks after poisonings

China's Yunnan province is investigating possible lead poisoning in its capital city of Kunming.

China widens lead industry checks after poisonings

China's Yunnan province is investigating possible lead poisoning in its capital city of Kunming, while smelter officials in its top lead producing city, Gejiu, are worried the provincial government may close local smelters with half a million tonnes of annual capacity.

It would be the latest in a series of lead poisoning cases in China, where hundreds of children had been found to have high levels of lead in their blood. China is the world's top producer of lead, a heavy metal that can cause brain damage in children.

Hunan, the second-biggest lead producing province in China, had shut some small lead smelters during last month's checks, a local environmental official said on Tuesday.

He did not say how many smelters were closed and said environment officials were still checking smelters.

Beijing, which had already set a target of closing 600,000 tonnes of outdated lead capacity nationwide in the next few years, plans to send an inspection group to major lead producing provinces for environment checks after hundreds of children were poisoned in Shaanxi and Hunan last month, industry sources said.

Reuters
Last Mod: 01 Eylül 2009, 14:52
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