Lead Advisory Service Australia
Aims to eliminate lead poisoning, protect the environment from lead
and to strengthen networks of stakeholders to solve lead problems

Lead Advisory Service News Volume 1 No 1
The journal of The Lead Advisory Service  ISSN 1440-0561

Search this site
 
Search tips 
What's New

About Us
bell system lead poisoning
Contact Us
Council Lead Project
egroups
Library-Fact Sheets
Home Page
Media Releases
Newsletters
Q&A
Referral Lists
Reports
Site Map
Slide Shows-Films
Subscribe-Donate
Useful Links

Visitor Number

 

Electrician nearly Killed by Chewing Leaded PVC Cable

The following article is reprinted with the kind permission of Woman’s Day, Story: Jan Mayman originally titled "My Deadly Cable Addiction", published 14/7/97.

Every working day for 15 years, Perth electrician Richard Marsh chewed his way through about a metre of sweet, pleasant-tasting plastic cable wire. The 30-year-old’s bizarre addiction almost killed him – the wire contains the heavy metals lead and cadmium, and Richard was slowly being poisoned. [Ed. - His blood lead level was 97 g/dL at one point]

When a doctor told Mandy, 29, of her husband’s addiction, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, "At last we knew what was wrong with him", she says. "I felt like throwing a party!"

Richard says a lot of electricians chew cable. "There are no warnings and no-one I’ve spoken to knew about the lead. I had no idea – I was addicted to the stuff," he says.

Richard has chomped through more than 3500 metres of wire – about the length of 35 football fields. His case has touched off a health scare amongst electricians all over Australia, with blood tests recommended for all plastic cable wire chompers.

It will take at least a year of agonising treatment before Richard’s body is cleansed of the lead still locked into his bones. So far he has had 13 treatments, each lasting five days.

"It feels like acid being injected into your body," he says, grim-faced. "The pain is pretty bad."

The costly treatment is covered by Medicare, fortunately for the Marshes. But months of unpaid sick leave have been a crippling financial burden on the self-employed electrical contractor. Savings vanished; each bill was a family crisis. New clothes and holidays were an impossible dream for the couple and their 4 lively children.

"It has been terribly hard on the kids," Richard says. "The lead affected my moods. One minute I’d be a fantastic loving dad, the next minute I’d be yelling at everyone, snapping their heads off. I’d feel extremely violent. I wondered if I was turning into a psychopath."

Contents | Previous Item | Next Item

About Us | bell system lead poisoning | Contact Us | Council LEAD Project | egroups | Library - Fact Sheets | Home Page | Media Releases
Newsletters
| Q & A | Referral lists | Reports | Site Map | Slide Shows - Films | Subscription | Useful Links |  Search this Site
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer
Last Updated 17 April 2012
Copyright The LEAD Group Inc. 1991- 2012
PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014