Environment & Health Hong Kong

Zinc poisoning fears at public housing estates over China-made tap

A mainland-made brass tap which has been supplied to 15 public housing estates in Hong Kong was found to contain an excessive amount of zinc, according to Apple Daily.

Residents of Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City sent taps from their homes for testing after water samples from the estate were found to contain a high level of lead, which was revealed earlier in an investigation by the Democratic Party.

Test results showed that the taps contained 99.2% zinc and only 0.7% copper. According to industrial standards, brass taps should contain a maximum of 42% zinc and at least 58% copper.

brass faucet photo
File photo. Photo: Jinx!

The brand in question, Ansporn, is manufactured by Guangdong company Biaotu. Professor Chan King-ming of the School of Life Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong told the Apple Daily that the substandard taps are unlikely to release harmful substances unless mixed with strong acids or alkalis.

Earlier this week, the Democratic Party commissioned a test of fresh water samples from 13 residential estates in Kowloon West. The level of lead in four samples from Kai Ching Estate, put into use in 2013, exceeded health standards. However, the Housing Department and the Water Supplies Department said an earlier test conducted by the government showed water from Kai Ching Estate comply with standards set by the World Health Organisation.

Correction: An earlier version of the report mistook the taps with excessive zinc with reports of lead poisoning in the same estate.

Zinc poisoning fears at public housing estates over China-made tap