Action News 1997. ISSN 1324-6011
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 µg/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.
(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 µg/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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Updated 15 January 2013