Notably higher level of heavy metals found in blood of Chinese migrants
According to a U.S. report, migrants from mainland China
have significantly higher levels of heavy metals in their blood
than other Asian migrants.
The report says this worrisome fact can be related to
Chinese dining habits.
Concurrently, Chinese food experts also warn that
massive foodborne illness can break out anytime in China
as food safety problems caused by pollution become worse.
A recent survey conducted by U.S. based Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention shows that blood levels of lead,
cadmium, mercury and other heavy metal are generally
higher among migrants from mainland China than
other Asian countries.
Specifically, blood lead levels are 44% higher among Chinese.
This is speculated to result from Chinese dining habits.
In May, rice contaminated with cadmium was found
in several of China’s provinces.
Zhou Lingguo, deputy director of the Chongqing Research
Institution of Food Industry: “Environmental pollution with
heavy metals in air and soil can both be absorbed by plants.
If consumed by human, those elements can accumulate
inside human body.
Either grains, vegetables or teas can be sources of pollution
as many areas with farmlands have been heavily polluted.”
In 2010, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) released
a report saying that
20% of China’s farmland has been subject
to heavy metal pollution.
Among them, 40% are polluted with arsenic and cadmium,
which is mostly concentrated in Hunan, Jiangxi and
other provinces south of the Changjiang River.
Head of the Research Center of Agricultural Resource and
Ecology at Nanjing Agricultural University, Pan Genxing and
his group had collected random rice samples from
markets of county level or higher.
They found that the cadmium contamination
problem has become extremely serious.
Pan Genxing, head of the Research Center of Agricultural
Resource and Ecology at Nanjing Agricultural University:
“Our previous research indicates that pollution may be
widespread in agricultural production.
By collecting samples and analyzing them, we found that
in polluted areas the rate of contamination can be over 70%.”
Recently, the CCP’s Ministry of Land and Resources
also made similar reports.
By plotting China’s pollution map of heavy metals,
the ministry claimed that
the polluted area had significantly increased
and was spreading to the eastern regions
which are much more densely populated.
In addition, experts also warn that China’s environmental
pollution is doing harm to people’s health through foodborne illness.
“Foodborne illness” refers to any illness resulting from
one’s eating contaminated food or poisonous chemicals.
Food poisoning and Intestinal infection are
two examples of foodborne illness.
This is the most commonly seen type of illness, and it is thus
one of the prominent health problems in the world.
Zhou Lingguo: ”If any food is polluted by heavy metal,
pesticide, chemicals or parasites during the process
of production, it is no longer safe.
If people eat them, it may do harm to human health,
which is an unsafe factor to their lives.”
Commentators say that China will see a outbreak period of
the pollution problem for a long time in the future.
This is a result of the Chinese Communist party’s reckless
development of industry and many disastrous effects will manifest.
Currently it is hard to predict to what extent
foodborne illness will break out.
Experts also remark that, besides pollution, another major
factor leading to foodborne illness is illegal food processing and poisonous food additives.
This is responsible for various well-known “poisonous foods”,
such as “poisonous milk”, “cadmium-contaminated rice”,
“gutter oil”, as well as the “poisonous century eggs”
which were most recently uncovered.
More importantly, it is the CCP’s connivance and
demoralization of the whole society that fuels the spread of
those poisonous foods in China.
Zhou Lingguo: ”Talking about the food pollutants,
some are added through illegal or improper processing,
while others, such as artificial ingredients,
are intentionally added for profits.”
Chen Yunfei, environmentalist from Sichuan:
”The causes are, for one:
Governmental leaders or officials hold shares in many
Secondly, some companies can bribe departments
of food safety or quality.
By doing these they can produce these unsafe foods
without being inspected.”
Zhou Lingguo believes that, to solve China’s pollution
and food safety problems, the government,
food company operators and consumers must work
together toward either more effective policies or improved social morality.
However, when will the overall environment
be improved to an acceptable level?
The answer is probably not within any foreseeable future.