LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News vol 5 no 3,  1997. 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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Cost to the Community of Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Aged 0-4 Years

In 1993 the National Medical Health and Research Council set an Australian goal for ALL Australians to be below 10 micrograms per decilitre [10 g/dL] of lead in the blood.

The following table sets out costs to the community for increases in blood lead levels - resulting in IQ point loss and therefore cost to the community in remedial education costs, health costs and lost earning potential.

BLOOD LEAD LEVEL
(in micrograms per decilitre)
Change in IQ points
(allowing only 2 IQ point loss per 10g/dL)
Cost of IQ change per child
(allowing $5,190 per IQ point lost)

1.5 g/dL to 2.5 g/dL
3 g/dL to 5.0 g/dL
4.5 g/dL to 7.5 g/dL
6 g/dL to 10 g/dL
8 g/dL to 12 g/dL
9 g/dL to 15 g/dL
12 g/dL to 20 g/dL
16 g/dL to 24 g/dL
18 g/dL to 30 g/dL
21 g/dL to 35 g/dL

to 0.5
0.6 to 1.0
0.9 to 1.5
1.2 to 2.0
1.6 to 2.4
1.8 to 3
2.4 to 4
3.2 to 4.6
3.6 to 6
4.2 to 7

$1,557 to $2,595
$3,114 to $5,190
$4,671 to $7,785
$6,228 to $10,380
$8,304 to $12,456
$9,342 to $15,570
$12,456 to $20,760
$16,608 to $24,912
$18,684 to $31,140
$21,798 to $36,300

(Source: Dr. Gul IZMIR, 1993 NSW EPA, reference: "Interdepartmental Lead Taskforce: New South Wales Lead Management Action Plan. Background Papers" Publ. NSW EPA 1994. This reference can be viewed at libraries such as The LEAD Group library at Summer Hill - ph. (02) 9716 0014)

The NSW EPA estimate for the number of preschoolers with blood lead levels above 10 micrograms per decilitre is between 36,600 and 221,620 in NSW ALONE.

Apart from the inestimable personal cost of lost intellectual potential, the cost to the Australian economy is CONSERVATIVELY equal to:

36,600 children x $8,304 to 221,620 x $12,456 for blood lead level of 10 g/dL equals $303,926,400 to $2,760,498,720

This sum of between almost $304 million to $2.8 billion does not take into account the unknown number of older children and adults with elevated blood lead levels.

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Last Updated 15 January 2013
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