LEAD Action News Vol 2 no
1 Summer 1994. ISSN 1324-6011
Michael Glass sent in this letter from his American pen friend It was written in response to Michael's news of his son's elevated blood lead level and their consequent move from Sydney's inner west to the Blue Mountains, 70 km. inland.
824 Lakeview Drive, Apt.
I was shocked by your news and distressed for you and Marie Louise, and I'm sorry to have taken so long to tell you so. "Outrageous fortune" played fast and loose with its slings and arrows in striking little Alan. I applaud your swift action to get him to a safe environment. It is good to hear that his blood lead is nearly at an acceptable level.
Lead poisoning appears to be threatening the entire civilized world. The United States is also concerned about the danger to small children. We have learned at first hand about the protective measures being taken in West Virginia. Almost immediately after I got your letter telling about Alan we learned Diana's and Tom's youngest child, Travis (the same age as Alan), had been tested and found to have a very high blood lead level. He was hospitalized for ten days of medication by i. v., with a catheter. Diana also went into the hospital, to see that Travis stayed hooked up. At the end of the ten days there had not been enough improvement for Travis to be released and he and Diana had five more days in the hospital. The next test showed enough progress for Travis to leave the hospital and have medication by mouth. In the meantime, the other four children were tested, as were Diana and Tom, and their house and grounds were inspected. Three of the other children have unacceptable lead levels but did not have to be hospitalised. The house was condemned for occupancy pending remedial work and Diana and Tom and the five children had to make a prolonged visit to Eppa and John. Contamination was attributed to chips and dust from old painted panels Tom removed while remodelling and modernising the building (the old school-house I once mentioned to you). The house has now passed inspection and the Grandt family is back home. All the children are having medication and being tested periodically.
Mary Ellen Melville
The following correspondence is published here with permission of the authors, as both Anne Reeves and Mr Carbon are complimentary about The LEAD Group.
Mr. Barry Carbon
Dear Mr. Carbon,
Re: Support For Lead Group "Advisory Consultancy Proposal"
As a member of the Nature Conservation Council Executive and President of the National Parks Association of NSW I was pleased to be part of a meeting with you earlier this month.
One of the points you stressed was your belief in empowerment of people through access to information and open processes for comment.
One of the community groups that I have become aware of in my capacity as a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council is The Lead Group.
The Lead Group, as well as playing a major role in raising awareness of the problems we face from the mobilisation of lead in the environment, and particularly as they affect young children and their families, has been providing information to concerned people. In order to do this, they have been assisted by a responsible and experienced team of advisors.
This educational and advisory service work has been provided essentially on a voluntary basis, at considerable cost of personal time and financial resources of those involved. The service has also been used as a referral option by trained practitioners and others as providing the best option for concerned individuals in many many instances.
I am writing now to urge the active support of CEPA through provision of sufficient financial resources to enable The Lead Group to continue its work in this area. I am aware, and very pleased, that The Lead Group has been included for the first time in the list of GVCO group funding. However the sum provided (in the order of $8,000) is in no way sufficient to underpin the kind of work proposed in the draft submission prepared by The Lead Group under the heading of "Advisory Consultancy Proposal". I understand a copy has been provided to CEPA.
I respectfully request that you take a personal interest in this issue, which I see as an example of what a community group can do to provide soundly based ongoing service filling a major gap in the current National Lead Education Programme.
Re: Extra Funds For Lead Group
My people think that The Lead Group have done a great job so far. They recognise the human energy which has been involved, and that the contribution vastly exceeds the financial support given.
You are right, I am a strong advocate of empowerment of people. As well as invitations for the ongoing involvement for the Lead Group, I will ensure that they have access to our information packages.
On the basis of competition for limited funds, I can't see us funding more than the $8-10,000 dollars as previous. I know that this will not fund the work proposed in The LEAD proposal. But compared to our response to many other groups working on many other worthy issues, our response is quite generous.
I know my response does not meet your request; nor does it satisfy the request of LEAD. I do hope that you do not read this as diminishing my admiration for the work of LEAD, and many other community based groups.
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