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11 Jun 2015

Cindy, China Digital Times

Landmark case on lead poisoning in children begins

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On Friday, a court in Hunan Province began hearing a landmark pollution lawsuit filed by a group of 13 families from Dapu, who accused the local Melody Chemical plant of causing abnormally high levels of lead in the blood of their offspring...the case in Hengdong in Hunan province is a test of the central government’s resolve to address the human cost of environmental damage caused by decades of unbridled economic growth...Thirteen families from in and around nearby Dapu town have accused [Meilun] Chemical, a chemical plant and metal smelter, of pollution that caused elevated levels of lead in the blood of their children and grandchildren...the original 53 families who agreed to participate in the lawsuit, most dropped out, some because of pressure from local officials...When Chinese state television CCTV exposed Dapu’s lead problem last year, the township chief denied the accusation and blamed pencil chewing as the underlying cause of high lead levels in children...