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103 children among 600 with lead poisoning

BEIJING, June 13 (UPI) -- Severe lead poisoning from tinfoil processing workshops was found in 103 children in China's eastern Zhejiang province, health officials said.

The poisoned children and 26 adults with similar high levels of lead are among 600 people affected by the toxic metal at about 25 family-run workshops in the town of Yangxunqiao in the province's Shaoxing County, Xinhua news agency reported, citing results of a preliminary medical test. The shops have suspended operations.

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Health officials said severe lead poisoning is defined as having more than 600 micrograms of lead per liter of blood for an adult and more than 250 micrograms for a child.

More tests were being conducted on the worst-affected victims, with 12 of them receiving treatment.

The others are reported to have moderate levels of lead poisoning, officials said.

Lead is commonly used in tinfoil processing, and workers and their families are constantly exposed to the toxic substance at the family-run workshops, officials said.

Despite this, Xinhua reported, China has yet to establish standards for lead usage in tinfoil processing.

Excessive lead poisoning can damage the digestive, nervous and reproductive systems, and cause stomachaches, anemia and convulsions.

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