Lead poisoning from battery industry reported in developing countries

Higher levels of lead found in children living near battery facilities

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 15, 2011) – Documenting the hazards of lead battery manufacturing and recycling operations in emerging markets, a study in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene reports that children living near these facilities in developing countries had approximately 13 times more lead in their blood than American children.

The researchers, using data from studies published between 1993 and 2010 on environmental and occupational exposures from lead battery manufacturing and recycling in developing countries, also found:

  • Workers in this industry in developing countries had approximately three times higher blood lead levels than battery workers in the U.S.
  • Lead levels in the air inside lead battery plants in developing countries were seven times greater than the levels permitted by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Children and workers in developing countries face significant risks of lead poisoning, which can cause lifelong health problems,” said Perry Gottesfeld, executive director of Occupational Knowledge International (OK International) and author of the study. “Without major improvements, we expect that lead poisoning cases will continue to increase as the industry grows.”

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