An independent investigation, conducted by the Lead-acid Battery Sub-Commission of the China Electric Equipment Industry Association, has indicated that Johnson Controls could not be the cause of the elevated blood-lead levels that have been found in some children in the Kangqiao area, Pudong, Shanghai.
"We believe this is a comprehensive investigation based on facts," said Alex Molinaroli, president, 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."
The independent panel was led by Mr. Xia Qing, an environmental scientist and former deputy chairman and chief engineer of China Research Academy of Environmental Science, and included several experts in environmental protection, health, soil remediation, and the lead-acid battery industry. The panel investigated potential sites that could have contributed to the elevated blood-lead incidents in the Kangqiao area. It also analyzed the various lead sources and the potential pathways from these sites to the environment in the nearby community.
"This completion of the independent study is a positive step forward in affirming Johnson Controls' reputation as a market leader and global benchmark in environmental protection, health and safety," said Shu Yang, vice president and general manager for Johnson Controls Power Solutions Asia.
While the study indicated that Johnson Controls could not be the cause of the blood-lead incidents in Kangqiao, it did identify an abnormally high zone of lead content from a waste recycling facility near the residential area where 80 percent of the affected children live. In this contaminated area, lead content was found to be over three times the present Chinese national standard and 10 times the forthcoming Chinese national standard. It is also found that the zinc content of this area was over 15 times the present Chinese national standards.
"We remain concerned about the health and safety of the community, as the root cause of the elevated blood-lead incidents still needs to be addressed," said Yang. "We are committed to working with government officials, experts and other members of industry to support continued efforts around responsible lead handling and battery manufacturing best practices."
Separately, Johnson Controls also announced this week that the company will resume production at its Shanghai facility in January 2012 after lead-related operations were temporarily suspended due to reaching its annual lead quota in September 2011.
"As a global company with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, we fully support the Chinese government's attention to the environment and will continue to collaborate and share the world class standards and best practices Johnson Controls applies to all of our manufacturing facilities around the world," said Molinaroli.