Children Get Lead Poisoning, Chinese City Offers Free Milk for Test Results

Environmental pollution is an increasing cause for social unrest in China, and the latest comes because of lead poisoning, which a Chinese city tried to cover up.

In Dapu, a rural town with plenty of smelters and chemical plants, eight residents have said that families with children with lead exposure were offered free milk in exchange for handing over their test results showing lead in their blood. Residents report that officials claimed that the milk would flush the lead out of the children’s bodies.

“I still give my grandsons milk, but it’s useless,” Mao Baozhu, 61, a local resident who says her three grandchildren have all been diagnosed with high lead levels, told Reuters. “Isn’t the resident’s committee just trying to deceive us by distributing milk and saying all the kids have to do is drink it and they’ll be cured?”

According to Reuters, “the belief that milk can treat lead poisoning is widespread in China. The National Health and Family Planning Commission recommends ‘nutritional intervention’ for children exposed to lead because they may have nutritional deficiencies, among other treatments.”

But better nutrition does not lower lead levels. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “eliminating the source of pollution and, in extreme cases, treatment to remove heavy metals from the body.”

According to the World Health Organization, lead poisoning is responsible for 600,000 new cases of childhood developmental disabilities every year. There’s also a link between exposure to outdoor air pollution and lung cancer.

It’s not the first time that China has tried to manipulate test results. There was a 2011 report on lead poisoning in China by the Human Rights Watch that documented how local hospitals in polluted areas withheld and potentially manipulated or falsified test results.

Beyond providing free milk, officials also reimbursed the costs of the tests, but only to those people that turned in the originals, highlighting the role of money in the rural region, where residents may not have the means to protect themselves. As Reuters reports, “When asked, two said they had not considered consulting a lawyer because they couldn’t afford one.”

Photo Credit: Patrick Pielarski

62 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago

thanks for the article.

Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen1 years ago

Heavy metals are poison that will make you sick, prematurely age you and in time kill you! People in China are sick and dying from heavy metals by the hundreds of thousands! Its already infiltrated into American food due to imports from China and this is a fact! Anyone contaminated with heavy metals in and away from China should be detoxing with the natural mineral called Zeolite that has been proven to safely remove both heavy metals and radiation from the human body. For more information on this detox do a search for the single word Zeolite.

Jeannet Bertelink
Jeannet AWAY B1 years ago

ty

Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants1 years ago

They'd better stop polluting the environment with lead.

Tammy D.
Tammy D.1 years ago

Nikolas K., I hope you're joking.

Biby C.
Biby C.1 years ago

The Chinese central government is probably serious about combating pollution but the trouble seem to be at a provincial level, where many of the officials are corrupt. This report of a cover-up is proof of that. This covering up is not to keep it a secret from the rest of the world, but rather from the central government, who have in recent years punished a lot of corrupt officials.

Francesca A-S
Past Member 1 years ago

Also, why don't they work on trying to get proper treatment for them instead of covering it up.

Francesca A-S
Past Member 1 years ago

Terrible news, poor children.

Janet B.
Janet B.1 years ago

Thanks

Diane K.
Diane K.1 years ago

Sad, short sighted decisions