Environment & Health Hong Kong

Water lead contamination scandal spreads to Ngau Tau Kok public estate

Water at Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate has been confirmed to contain lead in excess of World Health Organisation standards, the government announced on Wednesday, marking the fourth housing estate to be affected by the water safety scandal.

The water samples tested originated from block five of Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate Phase I. The government examined a total of 130 water samples in the block, of which six exceeded the WHO standards. It was revealed that welding materials from pipes also contained lead.

Water samples were also taken from Mei Yan House in Mei Tung Estate and four blocks at Shek Kip Mei Estate Phase V. However, none of these were found to exceed the safety standards.

Photo: iCable.

Director of Housing Authorities Stanley Ying Yiu-hong said that the government will implement measures to address the lead-in-water scandal, including distributing bottled water in the estate, holding a meeting with residents, and arranging medical checkups for the six affected families.

Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health, added that the government will conduct blood tests for residents in Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate soon.

The secretary also provided updates on Kai Ching Estate, the first estate in which lead contamination was found. 23 of 314 blood samples collected from 314 residents there contained a value slightly higher than normal. Of the 23 problematic samples, 17 were from children under the age of six, while one was from a pregnant woman, Ko said. The student health service will arrange medical checkups for the children on August 4.

Lower Ngau Tau Kok estate

Lower Ngau Tau Kok estate. Photo: WikiMedia.

Earlier, the Democratic Party examined water samples from the Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate and discovered lead contamination in some of the samples. It subsequently urged the government to conduct water tests at the estate.

The lead contamination was revealed in early July following a water sampling investigation in Kai Ching Estate. Water samples in other estates were subsequently found to have contained lead, turning the scandal into a citywide concern.

Water lead contamination scandal spreads to Ngau Tau Kok public estate