Shanghai Johnson Controls International Battery has been in the spotlight after at least ten children were reportedly hospitalized in Shanghai's Kangqiao Industrial Zone due to ultra-high levels of lead in their blood.
Initial reports suggest it was Johnson Controls' lead-acid battery production facility that was the cause of the area's excessive lead pollution. However, that may not be the case as Johnson Controls responded to the accusations by releasing this statement (edited for brevity):
On September 13, the Pudong New Area government requested that Johnson Controls suspend lead-related production in our Shanghai plant as we have achieved our lead quota for the year... we have complied with this request.

Recent news coverage about this suspension in production has included some inaccuracies we would like to clarify. For example, as a separate issue, we are aware that concerned local citizens have questions about their potential exposure to lead in the area. We acknowledge and take these concerns very seriously... However, we have no reason to believe we are the source of the issue.

We operate all of our facilities to the same standards and with the same practices globally... The lead emission average at our Shanghai facility is about one-seventh of Chinese national standard; furthermore, our lead discharge through waste water treatment facility average is about one-tenth of Chinese national standard. Our plant employees are regularly tested to ensure their blood lead levels are sufficiently low, and in fact our blood lead over 200 ug/L rate is world class at 0.7 percent.
Reports claim the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau ordered Johnson Controls to shut down two of its factories after initial investigations supposedly revealed the firm had been emitting lead-containing dust and smoke. A waste incinerator and nearby garbage-processing facility are also thought to be possible causes of the area's excessive levels of lead. Hit the jump for a look at Johnson Controls' full statement.
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Statement regarding Shanghai automotive battery plant

On Sept. 13, the Pudong New Area government requested that Johnson Controls suspend lead-related production in our Shanghai plant as we have achieved our lead quota for the year. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have complied with this request.

Recent news coverage about this suspension in production has included some inaccuracies we would like to clarify. For example, as a separate issue, we are aware that concerned local citizens have questions about their potential exposure to lead in the area. We acknowledge and take these concerns very seriously. We are anxious to cooperate with the government in any way we can to understand and help them address these issues. However, we have no reason to believe we are the source of the issue.

Johnson Controls is the market leader and global benchmark in health and safety performance in this industry. We operate all of our facilities to the same standards and with the same practices globally. The Shanghai Plant started operation in 1998 and was acquired by Johnson Controls through a global acquisition in 2005. Since acquiring this plant in 2005, we have operated the plant to world class standards with ongoing investments in environmental controls, best practices and new technologies.

The lead emission average at our Shanghai facility is about 1/7 of Chinese national standard; furthermore, our lead discharge through waste water treatment facility average is about 1/10 of Chinese national standard. Our plant employees are regularly tested to ensure their blood lead levels are sufficiently low, and in fact our blood lead over 200 ug/L rate is world class at 0.7%. In 2006, the Shanghai plant was honored as the "National Model Enterprise for Occupational Health and Safety" by China's Ministry of Health and the State Administration of Work Safety. Johnson Controls has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) - for both the World Index and the North America Index, for the 7th year in a row. We are one of only seven companies in the world in the Automobile & Parts super-sector category to be named to the DJSI World Index, which is a testament to our company values and global sustainability efforts, as well as our outstanding economic, environmental and social performance.

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