More than 2,000 villagers – including 300 children – in northwest China's Gansu province could have lead poisoning as a result of pollution by a local smelting plant. Residents have been traveling to Xian, capital of neighboring Shaanxi province, for blood tests and so far 354 people, 146 of them children, have been found to have 10 times the normal concentration of lead in their blood. People blamed the local authorities for ignoring concerns about the smelting plant, which was eventually shut last month, the South China Morning Post reported. They said the plant gave off black fumes, covering plants in a black film that couldn't be removed, as well as pumping out polluted waste water. County officials said they were retesting the blood samples for confirmation while the Gansu Environmental Protection Bureau said it would take air, water and soil samples.
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