China: 127 Children Tested For Lead Poisoning

More than 100 pupils will undergo blood tests after excessive lead was found in a water sample from a kindergarten, the second caught in a tainted water scandal.

The safety precaution is being taken after the sample from a boiler at Yan Chai Hospital Kwok Chi Leung Kindergarten in Sai Ying Pun was confirmed to contain lead levels of 13 micrograms per litre, above the safe limit of 10mcg/l recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Headmistress Wong Yuk-ying said: “We have stopped using the water boiler in question for the time being. We shall distribute bottled water to our pupils.”

The headmistress said the Education Bureau would arrange to conduct further water tests.

“The authorities have also arranged all of our 122 pupils to undergo blood tests on Saturday as a safety precaution.”

The charity group runs 12 kindergartens.

The Yan Chai Hospital-managed kindergarten is the second kindergarten to be affected in the water contamination saga.

Last week excessive lead, about 10 times higher than the safety standard, was found in a water sample collected from a stainless steel water boiler installed at the Hong Kong Christian Service Kwun Tong Nursery School.

The kindergarten said pupils there should not be affected because they did not drink water from the boiler, which was used to clean the eating utensils of children who might be ill.

High lead levels in blood can have adverse effects on the brain development of infants and young children.

The contamination scare first emerged in public housing estates in early July, and the government announced this month that it would start water tests at 980 kindergartens.

By yesterday it had tested the water at 94 kindergartens.

Hundreds of public housing residents have undergone blood tests and excessive lead levels have been found in a number of children.