LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 14 Number 2, December  2013, 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.
Editor-in-Chief: Elizabeth O’Brien, Editorial Team: Hitesh Lohani, Anne Roberts and David Ratcliffe

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Lead News

Compiled by Elizabeth O’Brien, from emails received by The LEAD Group. Reviewed by Lan Nguyen and edited by Elizabeth O’Brien, LEAD Group Inc, Sydney.

From: Ted Schettler

Subject: [chescience]

Prevalence of dementia in England lower than expected; how to explain it?

Date: 18 July 2013 1:18:03 PM AEST

Today, a study in Lancet reported that the prevalence of dementia in the UK in 2011 was significantly lower than would have been expected based on the estimated prevalence in 1991. The CFAS data point to substantial added value from existing healthy lifestyle messages. They suggest that lifestyle changes—eg, in diet, exercise, and smoking—might reduce the risk of dementia and promote more general health and wellbeing."

A healthy lifestyle is of course important, but what has not been mentioned in any report that I've seen is the potential role of declining lead levels in the UK population.

I have no doubt that reduced smoking, increased exercise, and improved blood pressure control are contributing to the unexpected findings reported today. We'll never know for certain, but I suspect reductions in lead levels across the entire population are also playing a role in the dementia decrease, thirty years after it was phased out of gasoline.

Ted S

Effects of lead on the adult brain: a 15-year exploration. Stewart WF, Schwartz BS.Am J Ind Med. 2007 Oct;50(10):729-39.

Bone lead levels are associated with measures of memory impairment in older adults. van Wijngaarden E, Campbell JR, Cory-Slechta DA. Neurotoxicology. 2009 Jul;30(4):572-80.

Cumulative lead dose and cognitive function in older adults. Bandeen-Roche K, Glass TA, Bolla KI, Todd AC, Schwartz BS. Epidemiology. 2009 Nov;20(6):831-9.

Epidemiology. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 December 17.
Published in final edited form as:

Epidemiology. 2009 November; 20(6): 831–839. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181b5f100

The Longitudinal Association of Cumulative Lead Dose with Cognitive Function in Community-dwelling Older Adults. Karen Bandeen-Roche, Thomas A. Glass, Karen I. Bolla, Andrew C. Todd, and Brian S. Schwartz

Interaction of stress, lead burden, and age on cognition in older men: the VA Normative Aging Study. Peters JL, Weisskopf MG, Spiro A 3rd, Schwartz J, Sparrow D, Nie H, Hu H, Wright RO, Wright RJ. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Apr;118(4):505-10 Published online 2009 November 6

Eliminating childhood lead toxicity in Australia: a call to lower the intervention level.

MJA 199 (5) · 2 September 2013 323

In epidemiology, the weight-of-evidence approach is useful for reaching general conclusions, whereas details from selected studies are useful for understanding nuances. This is particularly important when evidence from human and experimental research is consistent across multiple studies and in populations with different characteristics, including Australia.1-3 There will always be limitations and unmeasured confounders, but, ultimately, we can rely on controlled laboratory studies which show that lead is toxic, even at picomolar concentrations.1,4 Recent independent and expert scientific reviews — including reviews from the World Health Organization, Germany’s Human Biomonitoring Commission and US national agencies such as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Toxicology Program and Environmental Protection Agency — have issued recommendations to reduce the public health risks of lead exposure.

A February 2013 report by Health [MJA 199 (5) · 2 September 2013 324] Canada confirms that effects have been associated with blood lead levels as low as 1–2 µg/dL.5 These reviews indicate that the current National Health and Medical Research Council guideline for lead (10 µg/dL) is too high and should be revised downwards.

Mark P Taylor Professor of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW.

Bruce P Lanphear Professor of Children’s Environmental Health, BC Children’s Hospital, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Chris Winder Professor of Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management, Faculty of Business, Australian Catholic University,

Sydney, NSW.

doi: 10.5694/mja13.10261

  1. Bruce P. Lanphear, Richard Hornung, Jane Khoury, Kimberly Yolton, Peter Baghurst, David C. Bellinger, Richard L. Canfield, Kim N. Dietrich, Robert Bornschein, Tom Greene, Stephen J. Rothenberg, Herbert L. Needleman, Lourdes Schnaas, Gail Wasserman, Joseph Graziano, and Russell Roberts Low level environmental lead exposure and children’s intellectual function: an international pooled analysis. Environ Health Perspect 2005; 113(7): 894-899. Published online 2005 March 18
  2. Bruce P. Lanphear, Richard W. Hornung, Jane Khoury, Kim N. Dietrich, Deborah A. Cory-Slechta, and Richard L. Canfield. The conundrum of unmeasured confounding: Comment on “Can some of the detrimental neurodevelopmental effects attributed to lead be due to pesticides? by Brian Gulson.” Sci Total Environ 2008; 396: 196-200.
  3. Earl R. An investigation of the effects of lead on children’s cognitive abilities [PhD thesis]. Adelaide: University of Adelaide, 2011. http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/ 2440/71322 (accessed Jul 2013).
  4. Scheider JS, Huang FN, Vemuri MC. Effects of low-level lead exposure on cell survival and neurite length in primary mesancephalic cultures. Neurotoxicol Teratol 2003; 25: 555-559.
  5. Health Canada. Final human health state of the science report on lead. Ottawa: Health Canada, 2013. http://hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/dhhssrl-rpecscepsh/indexeng php (accessed Jul 2013).

Lead threat to children from home veggie patches


Date September 7, 2013

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

A study following five Sydney families over 15 months has discovered a direct link between lead contamination in soil and contaminated lead inside the house, with family members and pets likely walking it in. The study found summer is particularly dangerous, as dry weather creates more contaminated dust that easily moves around….

A 2006 study of vegetables sampled from the Sydney Basin area found 32 per cent contained lead levels that exceeded the allowable limits for vegetables, with lettuce, parsley and leek the worst offenders.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/lead-threat-to-children-from-home-veggie-patches-20130906-2tan9.html#ixzz2g56Dbtta

Is your garden putting your health at risk? Free test for soil metal contamination at Open Day 2013

7 September 2013

Urban gardens and home vegetable patches are increasingly popular in Sydney, yet few people are aware that a simple soil check might reduce significantly any health risks associated with “eating home-­grown produce.

As part of a new ‘ VegeSafe’ initiative, to keep veggies safe, a team of Environmental and Earth scientists from Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science will be offering free soil metal testing at the University’s annual Open Day on September 14, giving community members new insight into safe urban gardening options.

Although lead was removed from petrol in 2002, and in other household substances like paint during the 1990’s, our research shows that Sydney’s household soil still has a lead legacy – accumulated lead in soil and dust,“ says Associate Professor Damian Gore. “This is especially important information for parents and keen urban gardeners,” he says.

Team leader Professor Mark Taylor, an expert in lead contamination, says “High soil lead has been shown to correlate with high blood lead exposure in children – through them being more likely to be exposed to that dirt through their play, and getting dirt in their mouths – an exposure which is then associated with developmental and neurological risks.”

Quick facts:

Your garden soil in Sydney might be lead-contaminated if it is now or was once surrounding or nearby;

  •  A pre-1997 painted residential building or pre-2010 painted industrial building, and the paint has deteriorated or been dry-­scraped, heat-­gunned or dry-sanded and allowed to contaminate the yard;
  •  Older inner city homes or those near main busy roads - pre-­2002 leaded petrol vehicle emissions emitted lead particulates to the atmosphere that accumulate in dust, soil and ceilings;
  •  Lead flashing or lead acid batteries, manufacturing or recycling plants, or a waste dump/landfill.

The team will also measure several other toxic elements including copper, zinc and arsenic, which may have been used in fungicides and pesticides, and will alert homeowners if found in unhealthy concentrations.

Read more: Is your garden putting your health at risk? Free test for soil metal contamination at Open Day 2013

Lead Poisoning Puts Workers At Risk Thanks To Outdated Regulations


Posted: 09/25/2013 1:00 pm EDT | Updated: 09/25/2013 1:56 pm EDT

In a letter to a friend dated July 31, 1786, Benjamin Franklin wrote of lead's "mischievous" effects on workers and bemoaned how unsuspecting plumbers, painters and other professionals continued to be exposed and harmed.

Health experts echo Franklin's laments today. They say scores of working adults continue to be exposed to high levels of lead, including recent cases at indoor gun ranges, as regulations lag decades behind knowledge of the metal's health hazards and budget cuts further hamper efforts to prevent poisonings.

Howard Hu, dean of the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health referenced the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's current safety limit of 40 to 60 micrograms per deciliter of lead in a worker's blood, depending on the situation. Scientific studies have hinted that chronic blood lead levels as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter may raise the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke.

Dr. Michael Kosnett, an occupational health expert at the University of Colorado, Denver said "There's clear evidence that levels currently tolerated in the workplace under OSHA standards constitute a risk to the health of workers."

Tony Myhre, a security guard in Everett, Wash., believes he is among many who've fallen victim to this discrepancy in what is considered an acceptable amount of poison.

In late July, during a required training at an indoor gun range, he recalled becoming "tired and woozy." A blood test revealed a lead concentration of 11 micrograms per deciliter, about 10 times the national average for adults. However, Brian Borgelt, manager of the Tacoma, Wash. gun range, claimed no responsibility for any lead exposure, referencing the OSHA benchmark.

Since revising its definition of elevated blood lead, the CDC's Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program has helped many states -- including Washington -- track workers like Myhre with blood lead levels as low as 10 micrograms per deciliter. While it's extremely unusual for such a level to be accompanied by symptoms, experts worry about the long-term effects. But federal funding cuts threaten to stifle ABLES efforts.

"It's gonna stink. There are plenty of populations of people for which exposure is ongoing and not being detected," said Hu. "The workers and their employers are simply ignorant of these kinds of exposures, the risks inherent in their work."

Mark Olson, an attorney representing a group of young men who allege they were lead poisoned while remodeling Wade's Eastside Guns in Bellevue, Wash., suggests there's another component to the problem beyond just ignorance: negligence. Olson alleged that Wade Gaughran, the owner of the gun shop and range, knew of the health hazards, "and sent these kids into harm's way."

Schoonover from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries said ABLES information on Wade's Eastside Guns "really facilitated the quick and concerted action and intervention" when identifying the cases and preventing continued exposures. ABLES is key, Schoonover said, to protect people. "We need to reinstate funding."

Unfortunately, the CDC is not the only agency facing financial constraints.

Deep budget cuts have also severed childhood lead poisoning prevention programs, just as expanding knowledge of adult health hazards hints at more threats to the next generation.

A couple more important news articles have come in, at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/the-law-page/us-ruling-over-tecks-trail-bc-smelter-may-have-ripple-effect/article6459408 and http://ridatahub.org/datastories/educational-costs-of-unhealthy-housing/1/

From: Rick Rabin
Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2013 1:01 AM
To: Leadnet
Subject: [Leadnet]
Safer Consumer Products Program Launch

The list of chemicals in this California program includes lead and many cosmetology products.

Rick Rabin

For those who are interested in getting rid of toxic chemicals and green chemistry, California now has the most innovative regulations in this field in North America. Not all that we wanted, especially because the number of products affected outright will be small. However, the lists below give OHS activists and specialists useful starting places to ask questions about what can be done in their workplaces or through contracts and
policies/regulations. Don't know of another set of lists that is as comprehensive, and in a regulation. Gives all kinds of legitimacy to using them to argue the 1200 or so chemicals shouldn't be in products or workplaces.

For those interested in the specifics of the regulation, workers are included and occupational health is included in the definition of public health. We also got respiratory sensitisers in the list of lists.

Thanks to the CHANGE (Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy -- www.changecalifornia.org) coalition for its perseverance in getting us this far. [The Coalition includes Worksafe and some California union locals or districts (e.g., CWA)]. Also to the Green Ribbon Science Panel and others who made this possible.

If you've got questions, happy to answer them off-line if that's easier. The links in the e-mail will take you to the page for the Green Chemistry Initiative, where there's more information.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

Date: 1 October 2013 14:27

Subject: Safer Consumer Products Program Launch

Department of Toxic Substances Control

October 1, 2013

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is pleased to announce the launch of California's Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program implementing new regulations taking effect today, October 1, 2013.

To kick off the SCP program, DTSC published informational lists of candidate chemicals on the new Safer Consumer Products Web site, http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/scp/index.cfm

The purpose of these informational lists is to inform stakeholders about chemicals that may be named as Chemicals of Concern if they are later identified by DTSC as part of a product-chemical combination that is listed as a Priority Product. Please see the "Informational Candidate Chemicals list" on the Chemical Lists page - www.dtsc.ca.gov/SCP/ChemList.cfm - to view the list of chemicals pulled from the Authoritative Lists.

DTSC has also posted its Toxics Information Clearinghouse (TIC) Web site. The TIC's primary goal is to serve as a decentralized system for collection, maintenance, and distribution of information on specified chemicals via a publicly accessible web-based portal. The TIC provides a portal to multiple web-based sources of chemical-specific information for hazard traits, toxicity endpoints, and other related properties.

For more information on the launch of DTSC's Safer Consumer Products program, read the press release.

Dorothy Wigmore

Occupational health specialist


55 Harrison St., Oakland, California 94607
You can follow Worksafe on Twitter @WorksafeCA.

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