06/13/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Pollution in Zhejiang: lead in the blood of 600 people

Yet another case produced by a tin foil factory. The lack of specific standards of work safety and pursuit of profit continue to cause serious pollution incidents. Exasperated population often takes to the street to stop the dangerous factories.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Dangerous levels of lead have been found in the blood of more than 600 people, including 103 children, in the county of Shaoxing, in eastern Zhejiang, reports the China Daily, voice of the Chinese government.

The victims worked at a factory that produced tin foil. The analysis revealed that the most serious were immediately hospitalized. The newspaper notes that there is a lack of official guidelines for the safety of lead workers, which used for such products. But experts point out that no explanation has been given as why the lead is also in the blood of children.

Excessive amounts of lead in the blood can affect the nervous and reproductive system and the lungs, it causes high blood pressure and anemia. In children it can cause growth retardation and irreversible brain damage.

Pollution and safety at work are major problems that China has been unable to resolve in 30 years of enormous economic growth, which has taken place with little respect for the environment and health of citizens. For several years the government, given the widespread pollution of water sources, soil and air, has tried to prevent it, but grave episodes continue to emerge favored by the absence of specific regulations, as is the case, and the interest of local governments to meet production requirements.

A few months ago, also in Zhejiang, the authorities arrested 74 people and suspended the activities of hundreds of factories, having established 172 cases of disease from lead poisoning, including 53 children (AsiaNews 28.3.2001, Ordinary cases of pollution: aluminium in rivers and lead in blood).

There are frequent protests by angry residents over pollution and the inaction of local authorities, often suspected of collusion with industry. In August 2009, in Wenping Hunan and Zhenthou Hunan as well, thousands of people took to the streets after the discovery of hundreds of cases of poisoning by heavy metals (AsiaNews 03/09/2009, Chinese police arrest parents protesting blood lead poisoning in their children, and 24.8.2009, Beijing investigates culprits behind lead poisoning. But orders new analysis).
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