|LEAD Action News Volume
12 Number 4, June 2012, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Joint Editors: Elizabeth O’Brien and Anne Roberts
Eliminating Childhood Lead Toxicity in Australia – A Little is Still Too Much
A consensus for a way forward to eliminate lead toxicity in Australian children
by Professor Mark P. Taylor, Environmental Scientist, Macquarie University, Professor Chris Winder, Professor of Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management, Faculty of Business, Australian Catholic University, and Professor Bruce P. Lanphear, Professor of Children’s Environmental Health, Simon Fraser University, Canada.
A one-day public forum was convened at Macquarie University on June 5th 2012 to examine the evidence for low levels of lead toxicity and its implications for Australian children and communities. More than 60 national and international medical, public health, environmental and toxicology experts from universities, industry, government and health departments attended the public forum.
The forum was called following recent international reductions to reference blood lead values in children along with new research that reinforced the view that there is no safe level of lead.
In 2009 the German Human Biomonitoring Commission lowered the reference value for blood lead levels for children aged 3-14 years to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL). In 2012, the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to eliminate the 1991 level of concern of 10 μg/dL. The CDC also established a reference value based on the 97.5th percentile of the blood lead distribution among children 1–5 years old in the US (currently 5 μg/dL) as a trigger level to identify sources of exposure and intervene for individual children.
There was consensus at the Macquarie University lead forum that the current NHMRC position, which is currently set at 10 μg/dL was too high and that this ‘goal’ should be lowered.
In accepting the conference proposal: ‘A little is still too much’ the attendees examined the issues that need to be addressed to achieve the objective of ‘Eliminating Childhood Lead Toxicity in Australia’. To reach this goal, it was considered necessary to improve the means of identifying sources of lead exposure, assess lead risks and eliminate or control lead hazards. Thus, all relevant legislation and standards that relate to health and environmental measures of lead exposure should be revised downward to achieve blood lead values below 1 μg/dL.
The approach required to achieve this new goal is summarised below:
1. Identification and assessment
2. Elimination and Control
system lead poisoning |
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