LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News Vol 1 no 4 Summer 1993   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.

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Lead Problems In Inner City Suburbs

by Ted Floyd, campaigner with Friends of the Earth

Currently, there is major debate in Australia, with many people calling for the reduction of lead in petrol. It is essential that lead levels in petrol be reduced, but it would also be beneficial if the use of cars were reduced, especially in lead sensitive areas such as inner city suburbs.

Lead in petrol affects many children over a wide area, and is probably the most important contribution to the mean blood lead levels in NSW children. Over 50% of petrol now consumed is leaded and by the year 2000 it is expected about 30% of petrol will be leaded.

The inner suburbs of Sydney are criss-crossed by many busy roads, feeding cars into the Central Business District (CBD). Lead content of air, soil and dust near major roads can be high. High soil lead levels are important, because children absorb most of their lead burden through the stomach and it can be surprising how much dirt some kids eat.

The risk of lead poisoning in inner suburbs could be greatly reduced if the number of cars entering the CBD were restricted. Fewer cars entering the CBD will have many environmental and social benefits and especially the lead burden in the City and surrounding suburbs will be lowered.

There should be no more freeways constructed which channel cars into the CBD. In the city centre cars should be discouraged, pedestrian malls extended, and especially the number of car parking spaces reduced. Every car travelling on the F2 or F5 heading to Sydney needs a car park. If there were limited parking spaces then there would be no need for these freeways. Public transport needs to be improved so there is a viable alternative to cars.

The effect of lead on children is a major problem in our cities. Inner city suburbs are prone to lead pollution because of lead paints on old buildings and the concentration of major roads. To reduce the lead burden on inner suburbs, lead in petrol needs to be reduced, and the number of cars entering the CBD should be restricted.

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Last Updated 11 November 2012
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