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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Acknowledgements And Thanks

Contributions: Thanks to the following people for sending in articles and ideas: Dr Chlo Mason, Theresa Gordon, Herbert Beauchamp, Fred Salome, Noela Whitton, Sandra Eager, Juliet Suich, Dr Garth Alperstein.

Cartoons and Graphics: Rose Lennon, Augustina Jones, Vivien Carson, Alexander Claud, Rob Sutcliffe.

Permissions: Paul Rogers, Ralph Scott, Dr Christopher Winder, Dr Chloe Mason, Helen Oxenbury, William Heinemann Ltd, Sandra Eager, Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, Dr David Cohen, Science Press, Waste Management and Environment, Dr. Ross Goodheart.

Typists: Noela Whitton, Carol Bodle, Steve Shamoes, Elizabeth O'Brien, Cathy, David Ratcliffe and Rogiano.

Photocopying and Distribution: David Ratcliffe, Steve Shamoes, Lubica Forsythe.

Desktop Publishing: Desktop Workshop.

Funding: For the second year in a row, the Community Lead Information Centre, run by The LEAD Group, has received a generous donation from the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA).

Margaret Miller, NRMA's Manager, Community Liaison wrote:

Dear Elizabeth,

Please find enclosed a cheque for the sum of $2,500 as a donation for the forthcoming year.

The NRMA acknowledges the contribution of The LEAD Group to recent gains made in reducing the consumption of leaded petrol and we wish you and your supporters well in your endeavours.

Thankyou NRMA and NRMA members!

Dedication: This issue of LEAD Action News is dedicated to Noela Whitton for her contribution to the environment. Her support takes the form of childcare, payments for childcare and financial and other support for me without which these newsletters would never see the light of day. Her media watch service and taping of interviews is invaluable. Without even regarding herself as an active environmentalist, she empowers me to make a significant contribution.

Laboratory Analysis for Lead Research at Home

A special thank you to Graeme Waller, for allowing us to come up with some preliminary research results without spending a cent on laboratory analysis.

It has long concerned me that the system of soil and dust control, which I invented, may contribute to lead contamination of our clothing. My system involves placing beach towels wet (spun, not dripping) from the washing machine and laying them at doorways to the outside, at the bottom of stairs, beside the bath and beside beds, and anywhere else where children, pets and especially people with big feet (their shoes carry more dirt) might be going from a place of greater dustiness to a cleaner place in the house. The wet beach towels are many times more efficient at taking dirt off the soles of shoes or feet than a dry towel or mat. (Experiment for yourself by laying wet and dry towels side by side at the back door.) By the time the towel is dry it is ready to be picked up, carefully so as to avoid getting yourself dusty or allowing the dust to fall back on the floor, and washed in the washing machine, in a load dedicated to dusty floor towels. Half my towels (all the dark coloured ones) are now used solely on the floor. After the load is washed and the towels replaced on the floor, (even on top of carpet according to my friends), the washing machine must be rinsed out using a hose connected to the laundry taps. I was concerned that even this rinsing and spinning off of the rinse water, plus emptying of the filter, might not be sufficient to protect the next load of clothes from being contaminated with lead. But here are the results:

Water from the washing machine, obtained after the floor towels had been agitated for five minutes with detergent, contained 93 micrograms of lead per litre of water (g/L). In the following load, after 5 minutes agitation with detergent but without any clothing in the machine, the water obtained contained 10 g/L. In Australia, the safe drinking water level is 50 g/L, although other OECD countries regard 10 or 15 g/L as the safe drinking water level. Just as a comparison, I also had a sample of first flush water from the laundry tap analysed, after it had been sitting in the pipes all night. The result was 22 g/L which finally convinced me that flushing the water whenever it has been sitting in the pipes for more than six hours, is excellent advice even in Australia.

Isn't it a crying shame that there's no well funded Lead Centre in Australia to carry out proper research to answer this kind of vital house dust control question?

Elizabeth O'Brien

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