China to Move Residents Near Smelter
China plans to move 15,000 residents in its biggest lead smelting area away from the plants in order to allow them to keep operating, after tests showed over 1,000 children had excessive lead in their blood.
Some smelters and lead production lines in Jiyuan, Henan province, had shut for nearly two months after the lead tests, which came amid a spate of cases of high lead in children leaving and going to school in the shadow of smelters across China.
The mayor of Jiyuan, Zhao Suping, said 15,000 people in 10 villages around the plants would move at a total cost of about 1 billion yuan ($150 million), allowing lead plants including China's largest, owned by Yuguang Gold and Lead, to keep operating, the China Daily reported over the weekend.
"The local government has been trying to stop us getting blood tests and making it public. They just want to protect the plant, which pays a great deal of tax every year," said Huang Zhengmin. His 5-year-old grandson's blood tests showed nearly 500 micrograms of lead per liter, about 50 times the acceptable level in the United States.