China has shuttered battery factories in several southern provinces in the wake of a string of lead poisoning scandals that has put pressure on officials to crack down on heavy metal pollution, the Financial Times reported. Most battery plants in Zhejiang, Guangdong, Fujian, Henan and Sichuan have been closed down, according to Xu Hong, head of the lead acid storage battery branch of the China Electric Equipment Industry Association. Earlier this month, more than 300 people, including 99 children, were found to have been poisoned by a lead battery plant in Zhejiang. Since 2009, more than 4,000 people have been affected by more than 20 lead poisoning scandals in China, according to state media. Xu said the closures may lead to soaring prices for lead acid storage batteries if production is stalled for three months or longer.