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  QUESTION: Soil Lead Contamination, 27 Mar 2005, Western Australia 

In May 2004 I moved into a new building in Broome. Since then, I have become progressively ill.

I am a Registered Nurse as well as an Alternative Healer and Dowser. When I dowsed on the apartment that I was living in, I always got an answer that suggested the property was unbalanced. Having cleared any metaphysical energies, that is, ghosts and Aboriginal energies, plus a recent smoking ceremony with an Elder, the apartment still felt awful. I have invited some other energy workers into the apartment, who feel sick, weak, and dizzy in the apartment.

Last week, a Council Worker whose wife had felt sick in my apartment, told me that prior to the block of apartments being built, there was a ship building place there and a fuelling depot. He said that it could be lead! Lead contamination has since been confirmed by two people, although not scientifically.

A workman who was on site when the apartment was built, told me that they found some unusual white substance when digging and placing landfill.

I left this apartment two days ago. Two months ago, I had a hair analysis that indicated a high level of lead in my body.

What to do?

1. Get evidence of contamination of soil. How?
2. Take it to authorities (or get them to test)
3. Remove the offending under soil, which means deconstructing the building.
4. Decontamination of my body.
5. Compensation for the illness and amount of medical/ naturopath treatment I have undergone since being in that apartment.

Can you help or direct me please?
MaryLou Baker

ANSWER: 30 Mar 2005

Dear MaryLou,

Thank you for your query. To answer some of your concerns, we have found several fact sheets (attached) and websites (below) which would be able to help you.

In regards to getting evidence and testing of the contaminated soil, we would advise you to contact your local council, maybe through that council worker or his wife who were at your apartment. If the council is convinced that it is a public health matter, then an environmental health officer would be able to collect and test the soil without charging you. Otherwise, as stated in the fact sheet attached, you would have to employ a lead assessor to conduct testing for you.

Preferably, have a blood lead test done by your doctor and if the results are elevated, you would be able to seek the help of the Health Department. The Health Department unfortunately does not respond to just a hair analysis.

If any of these departments are willing to carry out a lead assessment but don't have the experience, they can purchase a  DIY Lead test kit (see attachment).

If you are renting, you might find some useful information in our "Renting and Lead" Fact sheet at: www.lead.org.au/fs/fs19.html; or http://intranet.tenants.org.au/print/fs26-2010.pdf

If you have lead poisoning, we could email you separately about treatment.

Regards,
Elisa Idris
Volunteer Information Officer

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