SHANGHAI, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Major lead-acid battery maker Johnson Controls said an independent study concluded that its China unit could not be the source of lead contamination that caused lead poisoning in some children in Shanghai.
In September, Shanghai Johnson Controls International Battery Co came under the spotlight after children in Kangqiao area of Shanghai were found to have ultra-high levels of lead in their blood during medical checks. Residents in Kangqiao had said at least 10 children have been hospitalised due to the high levels of lead in their blood.
The study, conducted by the China Electric Equipment Industry Association, exonerated Johnson Controls and found an abnormally high zone of lead content from a garbage recycling plant near the residential area where 80 percent of the poisoned children lived, Johnson Controls said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We believe this is a comprehensive investigation based on facts,” said Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions, in a statement.
“The results corroborate our own data and prove that emissions from our battery plant could not be the cause of elevated blood-lead levels found in the community.”
Johnson Controls said in the statement the contaminated area around the recycling plant was found to have lead content three times over the current national standard and zinc content 15 times over the current national levels.
The firm, which halted production in September because its annual lead-quota was reached, will restart production in January 2012, it said.
In July, environment group Greenpeace accused some of the world’s leading clothing brands of relying on Chinese suppliers that pollute rivers with toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals banned in Europe and elsewhere,
Chinese environmental groups also accused Apple Inc of turning a blind eye as its suppliers pollute the country.