Action News vol 5 no 1 1997 ISSN 1324-6011
Man Wins Lead-Poison Costs Fight
By Ann Treweek of the Sunday Times, WA, 26/1/97,reprinted with kind permission.
Ed. This is the latest on "Lead Worker: A Case History", published in LEAD Action News vol 4 no 3.
A former mine laboratory worker who suffered high lead levels has won compensation for medical costs 16 years after exposure. The man claims that despite high blood lead levels, health officials failed to diagnose his poisoning. Now he plans to have chelation therapy to remove lead from his tissues and says the State Government Insurance Office will pay.
He has suffered bad moods, memory trouble, lack of concentration, tremors and fatigue since working as an assayer at a gold mine laboratory in 1981.
When a test found his blood lead levels were abnormally high, the company moved him to another section and his levels fell to normal.
The man said he made no compensation claim at the time, but asked about long-term effects. He said a doctor then with the Health Department, and now working with Worksafe, laughed at his concerns.
But the man recently learnt from action groups outside WA that other lead-exposed people had similar memory and tremor problems.
While his blood levels were normal, he believed lead in his tissues still caused problems.
He said the SGIO had just accepted liability for medical costs.
But the six-year statute of limitations prevented him from claiming damages, even though he expressed concern about his long-term health in 1981 and 1982.
Labor MP Alannah McTiernan has taken up his case.
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