Action News vol 3 no 4 Spring 1995.
Government Actions on Lead
In the first two months of the project, apart from the funding of the LEADLINE Project itself, there were no observable government actions or changes in regard to lead. The following report on August, September and October has been prepared by project officer Michelle Calvert.
On a number of occasions Government has responded to concerns raised by the public or directly from LEADLINE regarding environmental lead issues.
Department of Administrative Services
As a Project Officer with The Lead Group I had informed inquirers concerned about Sydney flight path demolitions and I was concerned when I saw TV footage of the demolition of a house at Sydenham and the worker was not wearing a protective mask. I made contact with the CFMEU which is the trade union responsible for the workers on site. No response was received. I also contacted the Department of Administrative Services which is the government department overseeing and managing the project. The managers of the insulation and demolition of dwellings, respectively, attended the office of The LEAD Group and after some discussion undertook to investigate our concerns. As a result the demolition and insulation program has now been suspended and new "Lead aware" guidelines for contractors have been drawn up in keeping with advice from the NSW EPA and WorkCover.
When questioned as to what action was envisaged regarding the schools and dwellings that had already been insulated unsafely, the manager of the aircraft noise insulation project stated that "nothing could be done about past history."
On a visit to Tempe Railway station in Sydneys inner west, I noticed that the handrail and balustrade of the station appeared to have exposed "red lead". After conducting a lead check kit test and obtaining a positive reading I contacted State Rail to inform them of our concerns. The "red lead" was at such a height that it was readily accessible to the many children who used the station and would be tempted to run their hands along the railings and hand rail. After some procrastination the offending rails have been sealed and painted and The LEAD Group have been assured that they will be professionally repainted by February and that the top overhead bridge and centre island handrails will be replaced in the next financial year.
Waterboard "KIRA" pre-school
In October 1995 the Kira Child Care Centre in Sydneys inner east was temporarily closed down when an adjacent site was found to have "concerning" levels of contamination. The land occupied by the child care centre and the contaminated adjacent site, was formerly a works depot of the Sydney Water Board. Enquiries revealed that the centre is still closed and that children are being cared for at the Bathurst Street headquarters of the Water Board.
Early Childhood Centre in premises owned by a Local Council in Sydney
Results dated 13.10.95 revealed a reading of 20,000 ppm lead in ceiling dust and the centre is presently closed. LEADLINE was able to provide useful information and referrals to the Centre manager, the Local Council and the regional manager of Community health services, who all contacted LEADLINE.
Pre school in premises owned by a Local Council
In late September 1995 The LEAD Group was contacted by a concerned parent who had witnessed Council workers grinding off old paint from a wrought iron fence at the pre school.
The parents had contacted us previously and so were aware of our service. It transpired that renovations had begun on the centre in June and had been proceeding on the interior of the building at night. The children were still attending the centre during this time. The Local Council was contacted and meetings took place to discuss the problem. The Council undertook a clean up of the site which included new sand and some new top-soil. The Public Health Unit was called in by the Health Minister, Dr Andrew Refshauge, to offer to all parents the opportunity to have their children's blood tested for lead.
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Updated 19 November 2012