Shanghai authorities for the first time directly linked lead pollution that sickened 49 children to emissions from a plant operated by Johnson Controls (JCI.NYSE), a charge the US firm continues to dispute, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Shanghai Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said Sunday that there was an “obvious link” between the pollution and lead processing at Johnson Controls plant in Shanghai’s Kangqiao area. The Shanghai government also implicated two smaller manufacturers, which have already been shut down. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company rejected the claim, saying in a statement, “Based on all available facts, Johnson Controls disagrees with any interpretation linking our plant’s operation to elevated lead exposure.” The Shanghai plant, which has an annual production capacity of 2.6 million batteries, has been closed since September after the government said last year that its lead use exceeded a local quota. The US company also runs a plant in Jiangsu province capable of processing eight million units per year and is building a plant in Chongqing with an annual capacity of six million units.
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