600 people affected by lead poisoning in China

June 12th, 2011 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, June 12 (IANS) Over 600 people, including 103 children, in an eastern China province have been found to have “dangerously high” levels of lead in their blood, health officials said.

Workers and their children at 25 tin foil processing workshops in Shaoxing county in Zhejiang province have been the most affected by the lead poisoning, Xinhua reported.

A health official said lead poisoning is defined as having more than 600 micrograms of lead per litre of blood for an adult and more than 250 micrograms for a child.

The workshops have suspended their operations, the local government said.

Lead is commonly used in tin foil processing. China has not yet formulated standards for the use of lead in such industries.

Experts say children tend to absorb more lead than adults and they also discharge far less, which can lead to fatal levels of lead in their blood.

Lead in the blood can damage the digestive, nervous, and reproductive systems and cause stomachache, anaemia and convulsions.

The local environment bureau has tested samples of water, air and soil and found no contamination.

More than 2,500 people are employed by around 200 tin foil processing workshops in the region.

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