Nigeria: Doctors treating lead-poisoned children

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By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Doctors Without Borders say they can start treating child victims in Nigeria of one of the world's worst recorded lead poisoning cases after a cleanup was held up for two years by a lack of funding.

Dr. Michelle Chouinard said Friday that more than 1,000 children need treatment that will take one or two years. She said it is too late to reverse serious neurological damage that has blinded some children and paralyzed others.

Her organization uncovered the scandal in 2010 when some 400 children convulsed and died in Nigeria's northwest Zamfara state. The poisoning was caused by crude mining in a gold rush. Villagers still say they would rather die of lead poisoning than poverty.

Environmental scientist Simba Tirima fears that without safe mining methods, the contamination could return.

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