LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News Vol 2 no 2 Autumn 1994  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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Home Based Interventions

In a study, (Galvin et al, 1993) of lead levels near the Pasminco Metals-Sulphide lead and zinc smelter, published late last year, the following results were reported:

  • soil lead concentrations ranging from 20 parts per million (ppm) up to 21,460 ppm

  • household dust lead concentrations ranging from 23 ppm up to 35,870 ppm

  • 85% of 1-4 year olds living at Boolaroo, near the smelter, had blood lead levels above 10 g/dL. The goal for all Australians is a blood lead level below 10 g/dL and there is particular urgency in reaching this goal for children under 5.

While we have come to expect a section titled "Behavioural Management" to focus on hand-washing and floor-mopping, this study by Judy Galvin et al faces the reality, that the best home-based intervention is finding another home.

"Research in Port Pirie, in the areas of high risk, has shown relocation to be the most effective means of lowering blood lead levels [Luke, 1991] Luke has shown, that while general hygiene and having a healthy balanced diet are behaviours which can assist in lowering blood lead, they will be limited in their effectiveness in high-exposure areas."

With inner Sydney lead concentrations and household dust lead concentrations ranging up to 16,000 ppm and 7,000 ppm respectively, and 50% of 1-4 year olds having blood lead levels above 10 g/dL (Fett et al, 1992), parts, if not all, of the Inner Sydney area would have to be regarded as "high-risk" for childhood lead poisoning. Relocation is a popular choice of the upwardly mobile, but the concept has barely penetrated the mind of the average inner-city resident with young children. Relocation was not mentioned as an option in the Commonwealth Environment Protection Agency's $4 mil lead education campaign, let alone as the most effective means of lowering blood lead levels in high risk areas.

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Last Updated 06 November 2012
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