(NaturalNews) Though set to become the world leader in manufacturing within the next few years, China has one of the worst track records for rampant environmental pollution with industrial materials and chemicals. And a recent report out of the town of Dongtang, which is located in China's major manufacturing region of Guangdong, has revealed that at least 160 local children there have been poisoned by lead pollution released from local factories.
Reuters reports that ongoing investigations in the region have revealed "elevated" levels of lead in the blood of many children who live near heavy manufacturing plants. And many of these plants produce products like batteries that involve the use of lead and other heavy metals, which end up getting released into the air and water, oftentimes contaminating local crops and the food supply.
According to the South China Morning Post, there are already more than 500 reported cases of lead poisoning in children living throughout China's major manufacturing regions, and that this is "only the tip of the iceberg." In numerous regions across that country, children are testing positive for lead in their blood at ranges between 100 and 256 milligrams per liter (mg/L), or between 10,000 micrograms per deciliter (micrograms/dL) and 25,600 micrograms/dL (http://topics.scmp.com).
According to the U.S. government's MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, the normal range for lead in the blood is less than 20 micrograms/dL in adults, and less than ten micrograms/dL in children (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003360.htm). This means that some of the Chinese children tested have levels of lead in their blood that are a shocking 2,560 percent higher than what is considered "normal."
Many Chinese residents have been raising new complaints about the country's excessive pollution problems, which are visibly affecting air quality, rivers, lakes, and crops. But according to many reports, these complaints have largely fallen on deaf ears, as those in charge of this burgeoning, industrializing nation are dragging their feet in addressing these very serious public health concerns.
Lead problems in China are not new, of course, as many NaturalNews readers will recall the massive Mattel recall back in 2007 that involved nearly one million toys. Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels cars, and many other popular pastimes now manufactured in China were found to contain dangerous levels of lead in their paint (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/02/business/02toy.html).
To address the problems themselves, some local Chinese residents have staged protests and boycotts of companies emitting the deadly pollution. And in at least one case back in 2009, a group of activists stormed a manufacturing plant responsible for poisoning at least 600 children, destroying all the equipment inside.