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Lead batteries blamed for increased blood lead levels in 632M children from LMIC countries

Fri, 01/07/2022 - 12:36 -- Paul Crompton

Informal lead-acid battery recycling and manufacturing remains a contributory factor for children’s elevated blood lead levels in emerging countries around the world.

The findings were published by Lancet Planet Health following an investigation into the leading sources of lead exposure to people living in 49 developing countries. 

An estimated 632 million children in low-income and middle-income countries (LMIC) are estimated to have a blood lead level exceeding 5 μg/dL; and 413 million were estimated to exceed the previous reference value of 10 μg/dL.

Last October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its blood lead reference value (BLRV) from 5 µg/dL to 3.5 µg/dL in response to the Lead Exposure Prevention and Advisory Committee (LEPAC) recommendation made on May 14, 2021. 

The Lancet report stated: “Given the toxicity of lead, even at low amounts of exposure, urgent attention is required to control exposures and to expand population-based sampling in countries with no or scant data. 

“Major sources of lead exposure were informal lead acid battery recycling and manufacture, metal mining and processing, electronic waste, and the use of lead as a food adulterant, primarily in spices.”

In Mexico, lead-based ceramic glazes were a significant source of exposure, stated the report.

Lead exposure in LMICs

According to Lancet, reports have suggested that lead exposure remains substantial or is increasing in some LMICs but few studies have attempted to systematically assess blood lead levels over the full range. 

Data on blood lead level were extracted and pooled, as appropriate, to make country-specific estimates of the distribution of background blood lead levels among children and adults, along with information on specific sources of exposure where available. 

The researchers searched the PubMed database for the 137 countries in the World bank LMIC grouping.

The search yielded 12,695 studies (between 2010 and 2019). There were 520 unique studies included (1,100 sampled populations from 49 countries comprising more than 1 million individuals). 

Pooled mean blood lead concentrations in children ranged from 1·66 μg/dL in Ethiopia to 9·30 μg/dL in Palestine; in adults the range went from 0·39 μg/dL in Sudan to 11·36 μg/dL in Pakistan. 

Historical causes of exposure

The report noted the greatest historical source of lead exposure was the use of tetraethyl lead as an anti-knocking agent in petrol, which resulted in the dispersion of at least nine million tonnes of lead into the environment.

The global phase-out of leaded petrol began in the US during 1975, and was progressively adopted by high-income countries (HICs) in the 1980s and 1990s.

As a result, the average level of lead in the blood for people aged 1–74 years in the US decreased by 78%, from 12·8 μg/dL to 2·8 μg/dL; similar decreases were noted in other HICs such as Sweden and Germany between 1976 and 1991.

Phase-outs were slow to be adopted in LMICs, but by the end of 2005 nearly all had eliminated use of leaded petrol in automobiles.

Image: Pooled mean background blood lead levels in children in 34 low-income and middle-income countries with available data 

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Start-ups secure funding to drive lithium-ion battery market in India

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 15:06 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion electric vehicle battery manufacturing and recycling start-up Lohum Cleantech has raised $7 million to expand its manufacturing and recycling capabilities and expand its presence to the US in the coming months.

The New Delhi, India, firm secured the cash during a round of funding from institutional investors led by Baring Private Equity Partners (BPEP). 

Lohum aims to increase its combined manufacturing and recycling capacity to 700MWh, from 150MWh for the former and 150MWh for the latter. 

Its manufacturing plant in Greater Noida has the capacity to produce battery packs for 75,000 electric two-wheelers, according to Lohum CEO Rajat Verma.

Verma told the Indian English language newspaper The Economic Times the company was looking to raise an additional $20 million in funding (INR 150 Crore) over the next year. 

Lohum assembles lithium-ion batteries from cells imported from other countries, including China and Taiwan.

It follows Mumbai-based electric vehicle and energy storage company Gegadyne raising $5 million in strategic investment from electrical appliances giant V-Guard. 

This investment will enable Gegadyne Energy to scale up its operations and further enhance research and development.

Founded in 2015, Gegadyne says its battery consists of proprietary nano-material composites and ‘advanced battery architectures’ that enable quick charging batteries with high energy density similar to lithium-ion batteries.

However, it is not clear what chemistry its battery uses but it claims to be able to charge in 15 minutes.

Report outlines Tesla’s ‘secret’ Roadrunner lithium-ion battery plans for California

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:01 -- Paul Crompton

Tesla is planning to expand manufacturing capacity at its Freemont, California, facility to develop more ‘effective’ lithium-ion batteries and more efficient manufacturing technology.

Plans given to Freemont government back-up rumours of the US firm’s Roadrunner project that will support manufacturing, R&D operations— including cathode making— and the final step in cell manufacturing.

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China lead firm eyes switch to ‘low-cost’ Vietnam

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 10:28 -- Xuan Zhong
China lead firm eyes switch to ‘low-cost’ Vietnam

Chinese battery maker Shenzhen Center Power Tech is proposing to transfer part of its lead-acid operations outside China to reduce costs.

The company— also known as Vision— has set its sights on transferring lead battery production from its facility in the Shenzhen Dapeng New District to subsidiaries in Vietnam and central China’s Hubei Province.

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VW confirms plan for battery cells pilot plant

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 10:23 -- John Shepherd
VW confirms plan for battery cells pilot plant

Volkswagen has told BBB it will build a pilot manufacturing plant for battery cells in Germany as part of a new corporate “centre of excellence”.

The pilot facility, on which work is expected to start by 2019, will be incorporated with an existing VW plant in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, a VW spokesperson confirmed.

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Bosch ‘starts work on 48V battery facility’ in China

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 12:42 -- John Shepherd
Bosch ‘starts work on 48V battery facility’ in China

German auto-parts maker Bosch has reportedly started work towards launching a 48V battery systems manufacturing operation in eastern China.

The state Xinhua News Agency said construction of workshops and related facilities had already started at a site in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province.

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China chemicals player seeks CNY1.7bn for EV battery projects

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:41 -- Xuan Zhong
China chemicals player seeks CNY1.7bn for EV battery projects

Chinese firm Do-Fluoride Chemicals Co., Ltd plans to raise around CNY1.7 billion ($258 million) to produce materials for automotive lithium batteries and battery pack manufacturing.

The company will raise the capital through a private placement, according to brokerage firm Everbright Securities Company Limited, a subsidiary of the country’s Everbright Group, which is handling the placement.


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Lithium begins its 12 volt push

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 14:40 -- Paul Crompton
Lithium begins its 12 volt push

A stream of lithium battery solutions from some of the big names in lithium-ion manufacturing and automotive systems suppliers were presented at AABC. And they seem to provide all the answers to the OEM’s emission targets for 2021 and 2030.

Chris Ferhenbacher, from A123 Systems, showed real data that appeared to prove conclusively that lithium-ion with their latest phosphate technology is superior to an equivalent AGM battery, even at -30C.

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Chinese lithium-ion output up 16.9%

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 16:45 -- Ruth Williams
More than 4.768 billion lithium-ion batteries were manufactured in China last year

China’s lithium-ion battery manufacturers produced 4.768 billion batteries in 2013, which is an increase of 16.9% on the previous year, according to data from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The export delivery value for 2013 is down 4% on the previous year meaning increased domestic sales of lithium-ion batteries.


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Sacred Sun Power opens state-of-the-art lead-acid plant

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 15:32 -- Ruth Williams

Shandong Sacred Sun Power Sources Co. Ltd has opened a state-of-the-art facility that, when running at full capacity, will be one of the largest lead-acid battery factories in the world. The production site in Qufu City, Shandong, China, currently has an annual production capacity of four million kVAh, when the plant is fully operational this could reach six million kVAh each year.

The one billion RMB (US$163 million) plant is part of the new environmentally-conscious era of Chinese lead-acid battery manufacturing because it adheres to the Lead-Acid Battery Industry Access Conditions that have recently been announced by the Chinese Government.

Some Chinese battery producers have been criticised for lead contamination coming from plants. To prevent such pollution, Sacred Sun has introduced ultramodern production processes and equipment including a fully automatic lead-milling process, a closed-loop system to supply, recover and recycle lead in production, and fully enclosed battery formation. These methods are highly effective for reducing lead fumes and dust. The new plant also uses advanced technology and equipment for producing tubular plating.

According to the Lead-Acid Battery Industry Access Conditions, as set out by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China, new, reorganised and expanded lead-acid battery manufacturers' capacities can be no less than 500,000 kVAh, in the hope of improving the industry access threshold.

Shandong Sacred Sun Power Sources, located in Qufu City, Shandong Province, China, was established in 1991. The company produces lead-acid batteries that are primarily used in standby power and electric vehicle applications around the world.

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