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Poisoning lead smelting plants in Jiyuan, Henan, China

More than 1,000 children in China's biggest lead smelting center confirmed with excessive levels of blood lead. 35 lead smelters were temporarily suspended, 15,000 residents were planned to be relocated.


Jiyuan is a sub-prefecture-level city in northwestern Henan province. It borders the prefecture-level cities of Jiaozuo and Luoyang to the east and southwest respectively, as well as the province of Shanxi to the north. It lies 60 miles northwest of the provincial capital of Zhengzhou.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Poisoning lead smelting plants in Jiyuan, Henan, China
State or province:Henan Province
Location of conflict:several villages in Jiyuan (sub-prefecture-level city) including Shibin Village in Kejing Town, Nanxun Village in Chengliu Town, Shiniu Village in Sili Town
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral processing
Metal refineries
Specific commodities:Lead
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The three large-scale lead smelting enterprises, Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co., Ltd, Jiyuan City Wan Yang Smelting (Group) Co., Ltd., and Henan Jinli Gold and Lead Group Co., Ltd. can be listed as top 5 in the lead industry of China, which composed of almost half of the fiscal income of Jiyuan City. For example, in 2008, the main business income of lead enterprises in the city was CNY 25.46 billion (~ USD 3.63 billion), accounting for 40% of the main business income of industrial enterprises above designated size. [3]

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Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:30,000-40,000
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co., Ltd (HYG) from China - main polluter
Jiyuan City Wan Yang Smelting (Group) Co., Ltd. (Wanyang Smelting) from China - main polluter
Henan Jinli Gold and Lead Group Co., Ltd. (Jinli Group) from China - main polluter
Relevant government actors:-the health bureau of Jiyuan City
-the Government of Jiyuan City
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Jiyuan Discussion Forum
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil erosion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsmemory decline
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Other socio-economic impactseconomic burden for treatment and concerns about the health of the children
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The big companies upgraded the technology while the smaller ones were closed. However, the health impact on the children and some adults could not be fully recovered with medicine or compensation, some of the effects are permanent.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[6] Lead poisoning (accessed on 2019-08-26)
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[9] 济源血铅之痛:搬工厂还是迁村庄? (accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

[10] 15,000 to move away from lead poisoning threat in C China (accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

[1] THE WORLD : China faces reckoning over lead : Thousands have been sickened in a region where a cluster of factories processed the heavy metal for years. (accessed on 2019-08-26)
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[3] 河南济源将整迁血铅事件所涉村庄 千余儿童中毒 (accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

[4] Shaanxi Dongling (Lead and Zinc) Smelting Co., Fengxiang, China (accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

[5] 济源血铅污染:孩子都躺在医院 工厂仍生产 (accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

[7] Children poisoned by Henan lead plants (accessed on 2019-08-26)
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[8] Henan: protests over lead poisoning in children continue (accessed on 2019-08-26)
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[11] 济源“血铅超标”:远未逝去的尘埃 (accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

[2] Top China lead smelter acknowledges poisoning role (accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

[12] 济源铅中毒事件发展后续,老百姓渴望一个好的生活环境!(accessed on 2019-08-26)
[click to view]

Other documents

Lead, lead
[click to view]

Toxic lead
[click to view]

Sickened child
[click to view]

Henan Yuguang Gold and Lead
[click to view]

Tax payer and job provider, as well as polluter
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB
Last update11/09/2019
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