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Another battery plant shut down

ANOTHER lead-acid storage battery plant was shut in Shanghai yesterday, Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau officials said. That means that seven of the 17 battery plants in the city have now been ordered to cease production because of excessive lead discharges. The bureau said its checks were still ongoing but should be complete and the results will be released by the end of the month. Last Wednesday, the Shanghai Johnson Controls International Battery Co, run by US-based Johnson Controls, was shut in Kangqiao of the Pudong New Area after 25 children living nearby were detected with high levels of lead in their blood. Shanghai Xinmingyuan Automobile Accessory Co, in the same area, was also ordered to cease lead-related operations. After the tests that revealed high levels of lead in children, the local environment watchdog sped up its inspection of lead-acid battery plants and other plants which used lead, shutting down plants failing to meet discharge standards. A database on the plants telling the public where they are, what they discharge into the environment and any environmental impact was due to be put on the bureau's website today. While the bureau was busy with its checks, hospitals were testing more children living in Kangqiao. An official from Shanghai Children's Medical Center said yesterday that all the samples it had received for blood lead tests had been sent to Xinhua Hospital for further checks. The official said: "Only one child among those undergoing blood lead tests at our hospital in recent days was found with excessive lead in the blood." Residents living near the Shanghai Johnson Controls plant have been calling for the plant to be removed rather than shut temporarily.

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