French industrial lead pollution targeted

NGO unveils "first national inventory" of potentially polluting sites, calls on government to act

Health and environmental risks due to industrial use of lead have been stressed by environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE) France in a report issued on Wednesday. The NGO claimed to have compiled the first national inventory of industrial sites potentially causing lead pollution. It called on the government to create a national "observatory" on industrial lead pollution, which it said should draft a law to prevent lead pollution and compensate victims.

FoE launched its study last year after the head of a lead battery recycling plant at Bourg-Fidèle in the Ardennes region was prosecuted for "endangering the lives of others" by allowing lead contamination. A children's playground close to the Métal Blanc site had to be shut, and the factory was itself ordered to close in July.

The NGO's inventory lists industrial installations of all types that it says use lead and therefore could potentially cause lead pollution, including oil refineries, plastics manufacture, lead battery makers and recyclers, glassworks and others. Posted on its web site, the results enable users to pull up a list of targeted sites in each department of metropolitan France.

Follow Up:
Friends of the Earth France, tel: +33 1 48 51 32 22, and its Industrial lead pollution campaign.

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