QUESTION: Getting started on eliminating lead poisoning in Nigeria, 17 Jun 2005, Borno Nigeria
I am thrilled to find your website. I am deeply interested in the subject of lead poisoning. In my country no serious attempts appears to be made to prevent lead poisoning. Sources of lead abound. I need assistance to get started with testing especially children because of great exposure to lead in petroleum products, batteries etc. Can an individual become a distant member of your organization or campaign? Any other useful information would be greatly cherished.
ANSWER: 04 Sep 2005
thanks for your wonderful email. I am so sorry that I only discovered your email today among the thousands of emails that we receive. I wish I had more staff to respond to such important requests for info as yours but we have no funding at all and have had no paid staff for over two years and I just can't keep up with all the enquiries even working full-time on my own. I wish the petroleum or battery companies or lead mining companies could sponsor this information service or some new regulations could force them to pay tax to fund the service - these are visions for the future. In the meantime, how can you get started on your vital mission to save Nigerians from lead poisoning?
Blood lead surveys are a good beginning and since you are a doctor, you might choose to start this way, but it is not essential. Whenever leaded petrol is still being sold in a country, the usual priority in terms of lead poisoning prevention for that country, is to ban leaded petrol first. You could simply write a letter to your Environment Minister pointing out that help is available from the United Nations Environment Program to achieve a lead petrol ban quite quickly in Nigeria. I am sending a copy of this email to our volunteer Global Lead Petrol Ban Project Manager, Madeline Aitken, so that she can forward you a template which you can change for your own circumstances and email to the Minister.
You are also very welcome to join the LeadPetrolBan egroup (see egroups) which will put you in touch with other good people who are trying to ban leaded petrol in all the 91 countries where leaded petrol is probably still sold. It would be very good to know from you if Nigeria is definitely still selling leaded petrol because, according to the International Fuel Quality Center, there is no longer leaded petrol sold in Nigeria - but we can't always trust their information and it would be better to find out from someone actually in Nigeria.
I have many more suggestions to make but I'd love to hear back from you about this first email before writing again. Please let me know what you think.
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