LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 8 no 2, 2001, 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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Fully Referenced Expanded Version of
"New strategies needed to cut lead pollution",
Guest Article, Science and Technology Column, Canberra Times,
Thursday 25th January 2001

Lead - From The Petrol Bowser To Blood And Bone - part 4

by Elizabeth O'Brien, National Coordinator of The LEAD Group and
Mariann Lloyd-Smith, Coordinator of the National Toxics Network

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A RESPONSE TO: "Lead may be dead but we've been had"

PDF version of this file: New strategies needed to cut lead pollution

Lead is not dead

Do we have a lead-free future? Absolutely not! With the car population increasing at a rate twice as fast as the rate of human population growth, the global tonnage of lead mined and smelted increases every year, largely to keep up with the demand for lead acid batteries. So communities around lead mines and smelters will continue to be impacted by the lead we all want to be able to drive around in our cars.

Now that the end of one of the most dispersive sources of lead is close, we need to look at where all the lead from petrol ends up - in soil, ceiling dust, wall and window cavity dust, underfloor cavity dust, stormwater, sewage, sediments, rivers, lakes, the ocean, plants and animals - (mainly stored in bone). And we need to look at who is most at risk of being lead poisoned from this contamination.

So unfortunately, lead in air or blood is not the end of the story. Renovators can release huge amounts of lead by dry sanding or heat gunning old paint but demolition of ceilings or walls in highly trafficked areas will also release some lead because wall and ceiling and under-floor cavities in buildings are just a repository for all the air pollution fall-out that has occurred during the life of the building. This makes the children of renovators or those living in old houses especially at risk of lead poisoning in the future. Most inner city residential soil samples exceed the acceptable level of lead in soil of 300 parts per million (Fett et al, 1992). So unless you are "lucky" enough to have a federal government funded clean out of your ceiling cavity (prior to putting in noise insulation for an Aircraft Noise Insulation Project), then you will have to pay for the clean-up of lead contamination yourself. And for parents of young children, constant vigilance is required to prevent lead poisoning.

PDF version of this file: New strategies needed to cut lead pollution

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