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China Earth Medicine Technology

One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals 412

Posted by samzenpus
from the progress-marches-on dept.
eldavojohn writes "A report form China's Environmental Ministry reveals that one tenth of China's 1.22 million square kilometers of farmland are polluted with heavy metals and other toxins. The AFP lists 'lead, mercury and cancer-causing cadmium' and points to the rapid pace of China's industrialization as well as factories and their operators flouting regulations and laws. Cheap batteries and lead refineries are slowly turning China into a land where whole villages are poisoned (11 incidents so far this year). According to Human Rights Watch the government's response to this scourge is laughable. The poisoned are denied treatment and China's Environmental Ministry offers no possible help: 'The report documents how local authorities in contaminated areas have imposed arbitrary limits on access to blood lead testing, for example by permitting only people living within a small radius of a factory to be tested. When tests are conducted, results have often been contradictory or have been withheld from victims and their families. And children with elevated blood lead levels who require treatment according to national guidelines have been denied care or told simply to eat certain foods, including apples, garlic, milk, and eggs.'"
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One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:40PM (#37974348)

    Thats not the kind of regulation hes talking about. He didn't say anything about import regulation. He's talking about pollution and environmental regulation within the US that prevents our farmland from being poisoned with heavy metals. L2comprehend

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:47PM (#37974444) Journal
    Implausible. Heavy metal poisoning is only modestly fatal, either at alarming doses or if you draw the short straw in the carcinogen lottery; but has a huge band of unpleasant but nonfatal effects at lower doses.

    With uncontrolled emissions into the environment, you would likely see a uselessly small die-off, largely among people with occupational exposure, and a huge number of subtly to seriously impaired people with cognitive issues, chronic health problems, or both. Killing nearly nobody and creating a large number of chronically sick people is not exactly a clever population control strategy, even if you don't have any ethical reservations about it...
  • The U.S. is better? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:55PM (#37974576)

    "The poisoned are denied treatment and China's Environmental Ministry offers no possible help."

    Dude, I HAVE HEAVY METALS POISONING. I've been in chelation therapy for 14 years and NOBODY does anything to help. Check Medicare, Medicade, any insurance company and you will see that support for heavy metals poisoning is nowhere to be found. Ask your doctor to do a simple RBC minerals assay to check for heavy metals and watch the blank expression on his face in reaction. I'm doing my therapy all on my own.

    Heavy metals CAUSE CANCER. Why aren't people being screened for heavy metals when cancer is suspected?

    UN FUCKING BELIEVABLE.

  • Re:Mercury (Score:4, Informative)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:18PM (#37974950)

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18396555 [nih.gov]

    Claims 111 to 213 mg of Hg ions per Kg of soil, which seems a wee bit high. mg per Kg is basically a wordy version of PPM. I'm not sure if that scales, that would imply all of China's dirt added together would be some multiple of the total planetary store of Hg, wouldn't it?. Note this is the dirt that is washed off the mountains annually, so its probably the highest possible soil concentration.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2005JG000061.shtml [agu.org]

    Claims plain ole Canadian forest dirt has 200 ng/g aka PPB. That seems like a reasonable number. High enough to fit with historical coal burning, low enough not to instantly kill anything grown in it, etc. Note this is just "bulk dirt"

    I suppose soil levels in China could very well be 1000 times higher than in a forest in rural Canada.

    As for the thermometer, fever thermometers used to have somewhat less than a gram of metallic non-ionized mercury. I am no expert on rectal thermometers. But I'm willing guess "somewhere in the gram level" is about right. Think about it for a second, goatse aside, the orifice is usually smaller than the mouth the oral thermometers use.

    So to make one thermometer, you need something like all the soil in an entire medium sized Canadian farm, or a couple shovel fulls of Chinese dirt.

    The big problem is liquid thermometers were made with Hg decades ago, alcohol solutions a decade or two ago, and are electronic now. Somebody putting Hg in your rear in 2011 is making a weird internet video, not doing a legitimate medical procedure.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:26PM (#37975068)

    Do you mean my computer or monitor? My monitor was largely made in Korea. It is an LG Displays IPS panel, which are made in Korea. The electronics were made in Japan. final assembly was done in China but could easily be done elsewhere.

    The computer is made from parts all over the place, few from China. The power supply is the only component I can think of that was made in China. The CPU was fabbed in the US, packaged in Costa Rica. The SSDs were made in the US, the HDDs in Malaysia. The memory was made in Taiwan. The graphics card was fabbed in Taiwan, assembled in the US. Final assembly of the system was done in the US since I put the thing together myself.

    I'm not trying to argue that China isn't a massive producer of goods but please let's stop the stupidity of "China makes everything the US makes nothing!" Computers are largely NOT made in China.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:35PM (#37975216) Journal

    Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away with, this is how the United States would be as well.

    Your comment about regulation is nonsense, there is too much importation from China to inspect and regulate, it's impossible.

    It seems like you've misunderstood the plain intent of his comment.
    Republicans and Tea Partiers want us to have about as much regulation as China does,
    which will inevitably lead to the same disastrous health and market failures.

    I'm not sure how you got from there to "regulate and inspect Chinese imports"

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