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Environmental Problems Associated with Smelters


February 26, 2010

Exponent scientists were recently interviewed by Science Times (China) regarding the environmental problems associated with smelters. Dr. Michael Garry, a toxicologist, and Dr. Walter Shields, and an environmental scientist, were interviewed by the journalist Ms. Chen Li in September 2009. The interview followed reports by the Chinese Environmental Protection Minister of heavy metal contamination at multiple sites in China and more than 4,000 people with elevated blood lead and/or cadmium levels. The article based on the interview was published in the February 11, 2010 edition of the Science Times and is available online (in Chinese). The interview and translation from English to Chinese was facilitated by Drs. Yi Hong and Gang Hu of Exponent’s Hangzhou Office. In the article, Dr. Garry explained the ways that people living downwind from a smelter that has poor air pollution controls can be exposed to metals and the associated health risks. Dr. Shields described the development of regulations, enforcement, and air pollution control technology in the United States in regards to copper, lead and zinc smelters. He also explained how smelting companies in the developing world, including China, could improve their air pollution control capability and the importance of local regulatory agencies in enforcing existing regulations.