The largest lead smelting company in China has recently admitted responsibility in contributing to pollution leading to poisoning in almost 1,000 children residing near lead factories. Out of 2,743 children tested for lead poisoning, 968 were determined to have excessive lead levels in their blood. Lead poisoning causes anemia, brain damage, and muscle atrophy, among other serious medical and environmental problems. Lead levels in blood samples from the children were 5 times higher than safe limits.
Yang Anguo, board chairman of Yuguang Gold and Lead admitted to Chinese a news agency, “We do bear responsibility for the pollution. Some pollution has accumulated over the past 20 years or more and the plant is too near homes.”
Since the reports of lead poisoning have surfaced, several plants and production facilities have been halted. China’s environmental minister acknowledged that the spread of awareness regarding industrial contaminants has lead to a 30% increase in “mass incidents” of rioting and protests.
Lead prices rose to their highest this year in response to the closing of several large smelters, as well as an additional 32 smaller refineries owned by the Dongling group.