Shanghai Halts Johnson Controls Lead Processing

Sounds like Johnson Controls is being punished for some undisclosed slight of the ChiComs.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Authorities heredirectly linked lead pollution that they said had sickened local children to emissions from a Johnson Controls Inc. battery plant and indicated the facility would not be permitted to process lead in the future.

The move comes amid rising worries in China over pollution. Last September, townspeople in the eastern city of Haining demonstrated, sometimes violently, over pollution they blamed on a solar panel factory. In January, Beijing began offering additional data on air quality amid a public outcry over the city’s air pollution.

It also raises issues of land use—a persistent problem in the fast-growing country. Zoning in China’s urban areas was traditionally weak and even today housing blocks stand next to factories. China’s richer cities like Shanghai are increasingly eager to push polluting industries elsewhere, sentiment Johnson Controls said it detected in its negotiations with local authorities.

At the same time, some business groups complain that foreign companies can get unfairly caught up in public campaigns. Observers worried last year when the southwestern city of Chongqing took action over a price-labeling issue at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outlets that led to the temporary closure of 13 stores and the detentions of dozens of employees.

On Sunday, the Shanghai Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said the Johnson Controls plant in an area of the city called Kangqiao had a role in lead pollution that sickened 49 children. “There is an obvious link between the excessive lead in those children’s blood in the Kangqiao area and the lead emission by Johnson Controls,” according to a summary of its findings published on an official government website.

Milwaukee, Wis.-based Johnson Controls rejected claims its plant can be tied to illness in local children. “Based on all available facts, Johnson Controls disagrees with any interpretation linking our plant’s operation to elevated lead exposure,” the firm said in a statement…

Read the entire report.

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2 responses to “Shanghai Halts Johnson Controls Lead Processing

  1. Years ago, when I was “working” for a group of foreign investors (to get access to China to see what was really going on, to rock the boat) the Chinese equivalent of the EPA showed up and demanded a fine be paid for “pollution.” The company officials told them the company could not afford the fine. The EPA told them they did not have to pay the fine, just get the money from the foreign investor.

    I was told that the government did not finance their EPA. The EPA’s only source of income was whatever fines they could collect. It is called “lai see,” meaning “lucky money” (in this case, extortion).

  2. A local school had lead in its water but no lead in its intake. The school was completely re-plumbed. When the water was tested after the project there still was lead in the water. It turned out that the detection instruments could pick up that brass was used in faucets. The whole expensive project was a complete waste because people can not understand the difference between detectible levels of lead and worrisome levels of lead.

    It breaks my heart when our friends the Chinese pick up our stupidity.

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