LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 11 no 1, September 2010, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times (ISSN 1440-4966) & Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor: Anne Roberts

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Questions arising from Noela Whitton’s article

Some aspects of The LEAD Group, 20 years on

Questions posed by Michelle Calvert, Vice-President of The LEAD Group. She was Education Officer at the time when The LEAD Group had full funding.

Question: What is the connection, if any, between The LEAD Group, and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)?

Answer: The EPA is a very good source of references for her to answer inquiries about regulations, pollution licences, etc. She rings environment line 131555 regularly.

“The EPA is now called Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and, unfortunately they have cut down the lead information on their website to only their most basic fact sheet, and removed their still useful booklets and fact sheets which we helped them to write. They said they don’t have staff who know the topic well enough to answer queries which might arise. Roughly 40% of the enquiries to the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS) still come from NSW, so it might be concluded that the public sometimes has no choice but to ring The LEAD Group for help – with no funding from DECCW.”

When Harry was first found to be lead-poisoned, free advice was available from “a wonderful lead-knowledgeable paediatrician called Dr Garth Alperstein.”

Question: is he retired now? If so, who has taken his place? Answer: Yes, retired. The most knowledgeable paediatrician on the subject is Dr Paul Knight, of Westmead Hospital.

They were offered “a unique offer of isotope studies by Professor Brian Gulson”

Question: Is he retired now? Answer: Yes.

Question: What is Harry (Harrison) doing now – long term effects?

Answer: Once Elizabeth realised her children had been exposed to lead and needed extra encouragement in reading and writing, she spent hours reading to them and finding ways to teach them new words and revise the ones they’d already learned. She wrote little books of words and pictures, including photos of themselves, to help them to learn to read before they went to school.

Harry is now in second year at Sydney University, and is doing fine, a tribute to his parents’ work in removing the sources of lead in the house, and his mother’s early intervention in his education. Genetically, he was to be expected to have the IQ that could take him to university, but will have lost some IQ points due to his exposure to lead, and now also has increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Elizabeth is very pleased that all three sons are fanatical about exercise and healthy diet.

Question: Give a short explanation of expansion of The LEAD Group, and of GLASS.

Answer: Our work has expanded geographically – our web site has received “hits” from 213 countries and territories (practically every country in the world), and we’ve had over 76,000 direct inquiries from 128 countries. This is the work of GLASS.

Question: Is it still difficult to get the Media interested because the subject is not “Sexy”?

Answer: The media does respond when it’s a story about lead contaminated sites. The transcript of an interview with ABC local radio, Port Pirie, is in this current newsletter. “Most lead poisoning, especially the fatal variety, is undiagnosed, so as soon as researchers and doctors get a handle on the long term effects of lead, I’m sure the media will catch on.”

Question: You got advice in the beginning from people like Theresa Gordon, Herbert Beauchamp, Dr Kate Short, Dr Chloë Mason and Naomi Segal and the professionals on our Technical Advisory Board like Professors Chris Winder and Geoffrey Duggin. Who are today’s champions?

Answer: Sadly, Elizabeth’s first, great mentor, Herbert Beauchamp died on October 15, 2005.

Today’s champions are Carol Bodle, Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, Professor Chris Winder, Dr Perry Gottesfeld, Professors Bruce Lanphear and Mark Taylor; and, though retired, Professors Gulson and Alperstein.

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Last Updated 23 January 2012
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