China Reports 1,300 Children Sick in New Lead Poisoning Case

Chinese state media say more than 1,300 children living near a metal plant in central China have excess lead in their blood.

Xinhua news agency says nearly 70 percent of children tested who live near a maganese metal processing plant in Wenping township of Hunan province could have lead poisoning.

The recent poisonings are the latest in a series of pollution-related scandals in China, whose rapid economic development has fouled much of the country's air, water and soil.

Earlier this week, villagers in northwestern China who were moved away from a polluting metal factory in 2004 said their children remain at risk from lead poisoning

Experts said they will test safety conditions at their current homes in Shaanxi province this week.

In another development, officials ordered the Dongling metal processing plant in Shaanxi's Baoji district to close on August 6 after nearby residents reported the lead poisoning cases.

Chinese state media said the mayor of Baoji apologized to the villagers and promised the plant will remain closed until it meets health standards.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.