Greenpeace has lashed out at three enterprises for discharging industrial sewage into the Pearl River, with one sample containing an amount of a cancer-causing metal 25 times over Guangdong's legal limit. In a report titled 'Hazardous Chemical Pollution of the Pearl River' published yesterday, the environmental watchdog targeted enterprises - mostly those involved in producing circuit boards, textiles and printing - owned by two Hong Kong companies and a mainland firm. During the investigation, 25 waste-water samples and sediment were collected from sites in Guangdong and tested at Greenpeace's laboratory in Britain. According to the report, beryllium, a carcinogenic heavy metal, existed at 25 times over provincial standards in a sewage sample collected off Kingboard (Fogang) Industrial Area in Qingyuan . The concentration of manganese in the sample was three times over the minimum standard. High levels of exposure can poison the nervous system and cause brain damage. The industrial facility, along with Kingboard (Panyu Nansha) Industrial Area in Guangzhou and Wing Fung PC Board Co in Shenzhen's Shajing town, is owned by the Hong Kong-listed company Kingboard Chemical Holdings. The enterprise was named by Forbes magazine last year as one of the top 2,000 giant enterprises in the world, with a ranking of 1,753. Twelve times the permitted copper concentration was found near the Wing Fung site, and other substances capable of disrupting hormones or reproductive development were found in the Nansha site owned by the group. The cancer-causing element dichloromethane and highly acidic sewage were also found off the industrial site of the Dongguan Cheongming Printing Co, which is owned by another Hong Kong-listed company, Cheong Ming Investment Co. Higher-than-permitted levels of manganese and hormone-disrupting alkylphenols were found on a site occupied by the privately owned Qingyuan Top Dragon Textile Co. According to the report, substances such as alkylphenols are on the European Union's priority hazardous substances list, but are not yet regulated on the mainland. Greenpeace campaign manager Edward Chan Yue-fai said the investigation provided a snapshot of industrial water pollution caused by the discharge of hazardous chemicals in the region, but the problem was exacerbated by inadequate water regulation on the mainland. 'Made-in-China products used by consumers worldwide are being manufactured at a high cost to the Pearl River,' Chan said. Chinese University geography professor David Chen Yongqin said the mainland government needed to impose more stringent enforcement measures, such as raising the penalty for discharge of illegal sewage, and adopt comprehensive monitoring to cover more hazardous chemicals. Brian Lui Shing-ming, Cheongming's managing director, said the company had invested in a sewage processing system in 2006 that was endorsed by Dongguan's government and passed its inspections in April and July. A spokesman for Qingyuan Top Dragon Textile said Greenpeace could publish whatever it wanted. A Kingboard spokeswoman said the group would not comment on the matter.