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Government releases latest blood test results of public estate residents affected by lead in drinking water incidents

     The Government today (July 21) released the latest blood test results of public estate residents affected by the lead in drinking water incidents.

     Among the latest batch of 302 blood samples, 262 samples show normal blood lead levels, including those of 21 pregnant women.  The blood lead levels of 40 residents are on borderline raised level. Among them, there are 27 children under six years old and 13 lactating mothers. Their blood lead levels are in the range of 5-15 micrograms per deciliter, indicating that there are potential health risks.

     The Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, said at a press conference, "According to the care plan formulated by Hospital Authority (HA) experts, both the Department of Health (DH) and HA will follow up on the health condition of all the lactating women and children with borderline raised blood lead level.

     "The Government is particularly concerned about the 27 children whose blood lead level has exceeded the normal level.  We understand that parents are very worried about the potential health risks and impacts on development brought to their children.  Therefore, apart from the follow-up on their condition according to the care plan, DH will make special arrangements for these children to receive development assessments at its Child Assessment Centres."

     In response to the recent test results of drinking water and public concerns, the Government will implement the following measures:

1. To arrange blood tests for three more easily affected groups of residents living in Wing Cheong Estate, namely children under six, lactating women and pregnant women.

2. To expand the scope of blood testing to children who were under six years old when moving into the concerned housing estates (Kai Ching Estate, Kwai Luen Estate (Phase 2) and Wing Cheong Estate) on top of the existing three more easily affected groups.

3. HA will increase the capacity of blood taking as much as possible, including increasing the number of blood taking sessions and hospitals providing blood taking service.

     "We will also actively study on means to enhance the blood testing capacity of laboratories, which include considering as soon as possible the purchase of new blood testing equipment by HA. We will explore the feasibility of sending blood samples to overseas laboratories for testing.

     "While we can speed up the blood taking service as far as possible, the blood lead level examination facilities in laboratory will not be able to keep pace with the blood taking capacity. Therefore, we expect that it will take more than four days to have the blood test results available, longer than we originally expect," Dr Ko said.

     Members of the public may call the DH's hotline (2125 1122) from 9am to 11pm regarding lead and its health effect. The more easily affected groups may also call the hotline to make appointments for blood tests.

Ends/Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:55


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