Study clears Johnson Controls of culpability for lead poisoning in China

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc., which was accused by the Chinese government of causing severe lead poisoning in children residing near the company’s Shanghai batter plant, says a new report vindicates the firm and places the blame for the toxicity instead on a nearby recycling plant.
Johnson Controls said today that an investigation by the China Electric Equipment Industry Association found its battery factory in Shanghai’s eastern suburbs was not the cause of elevated blood-lead levels among children in the nearby community, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Xia Qing, the scientist who led the probe cited by Johnson Controls, said the study was commissioned by the Electric Equipment Industry Association and was not paid for by the battery maker.
Tests showed abnormally high lead levels at a waste recycling facility near the community whose children were poisoned, with lead levels three times the current national standard and 10 times a pending stricter national standard. Zinc levels were 15 times national standards, the AP reported.
China shut down hundreds of battery factories last spring after a slew of lead poisoning cases. Many have remained closed.
The Johnson Controls factory suspended production in September after it reached its annual quota for lead use.  The company says it intends to resume production in January at the factory, the AP said.
"We’ve called our employees back. We’re pretty excited," said Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "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.”

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