LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 12 Number 3, May 2012, 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.
Editor-in-Chief: Elizabeth O’Brien, Editorial Team: Hitesh Lohani, Anne Roberts and David Ratcliffe

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Australian Elevated Blood Lead Level Notification / Follow-up, by Environmental Health Officers

A Compilation of State and Territory Government Health Department Emails, with References

The following emails were sent in reply to Elizabeth O’Brien’s request for jurisdictional policy, and were compiled, with full references, by Zac Gethin-Damon, The LEAD Group

Northern Territory (NT):

From: Department of Health, NT

Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 3:46 PM

To: The LEAD Group Inc. 

Subject: RE: Case management of notified blood lead levels

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for your email.

The Environmental Health Program is updating the ‘Environmental Health Standard Operating Procedure on Complaints Issues’ to include appendices which will provide further practical guidance to our Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) on how to investigate and respond to a range of public health issues.

As part of this update, a draft EHO Guidance Note relating to investigating elevated blood lead levels and/or lead poisoning has been prepared, and will be finalised in the near future.

If you would like, I can forward you the final version of that EHO Guidance Note once it is available.

If any further information is required, please feel free to call, or email me.

Kind Regards,

Environmental Health Branch | Department of Health

2nd Floor, Casuarina Plaza, 258 Trower Rd, CASUARINA  NT  0810 | PO Box 40596, CASUARINA  NT  0811

p... (08) 892 27433 | f... (08) 892 27334


Queensland (QLD)

From: Department of Health, QLD, Environmental Health Branch

Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 4:12 PM

To: The LEAD Group Inc.

Subject: Fwd: Case management of notified blood lead

Dear Elizabeth

It was a pleasure talking with you this morning. 

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide you with a copy of our internal guidelines for general circulation. Blood lead levels equal to or greater than 10µg/dL (0.48 µmol/L) are a notifiable condition under the Public Health Act 2005.  Queensland Health conducts risk based investigations in response to these notifications which may include environmental sampling to determine source of exposure. In addition, Queensland Health also publishes reports detailing non-occupational exposure for inclusion on our internet site [ http://www.health.qld.gov.au/health_professionals/environment/default.asp ].  Please note that the reports for 2008, 2009 and 2010 are expected to be published on this site in the near future.

I hope this is of help to you.

Kind regards,

Environmental Health Science and Regulation Unit

Environmental Health Branch

Ph: 07 3328 9011


Investigations of Cases of Elevated Blood Lead Levels - Guidelines for Environmental Health Officers (1997), NSW Health Dept Environmental Health Branch, and LRC - NSW EPA

Environmental Health Guidance Note - The Investigation of Environmental Sources of Excessive Lead Exposure (1999), Environmental Toxicology, Environmental Health Unit, Queensland Health

Environmental Health Officer Guidance Material for the Investigation of Environmental Sources of Excessive Lead Exposure (1999), Environmental Toxicology, Environmental Health Unit, Queensland Health.

Lead Exposure (Notifiable) - 1998 Notifications In Queensland, July 2000, Queensland Health Dept

Lead Exposure Notifications For 1999 [Queensland], House to House - The Newsletter of the Environmental Health Unit, July 2000, Queensland Health Dept.

Data on Queensland lead poisoning deaths and notifications, by age, sex, source (including paint) from 1995 to 2001, 18 April 2002, Wendy Edmond, Minister for Health Qld.

The following references can all be accessed via http://www.health.qld.gov.au/health_professionals/environment/default.asp:

BLOOD LEAD NOTIFICATIONS IN QUEENSLAND 2002, Queensland Health, March 2006, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/31752.pdf

BLOOD LEAD NOTIFICATIONS IN QUEENSLAND 2003, Queensland Health, March 2006, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/31751.pdf

BLOOD LEAD NOTIFICATIONS IN QUEENSLAND 2004, Queensland Health, March 2006, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/31750.pdf

BLOOD LEAD NOTIFICATIONS IN QUEENSLAND 2005, Queensland Health, March 2006, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/31749.pdf

BLOOD LEAD NOTIFICATIONS IN QUEENSLAND 2006, Queensland Health, January 2007, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/32497.pdf

Non-Occupational Blood Lead Notifications in Queensland 2007, Queensland Health, January 2008, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/bl-notif-2007.pdf

Non-Occupational Blood Lead Notifications in Queensland 2008, Queensland Health, April 2012, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/bl-notif-2008.pdf

Non-Occupational Blood Lead Notifications in Queensland 2009, Queensland Health, April 2012, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/bl-notif-2009.pdf

Non-Occupational Blood Lead Notifications in Queensland 2010, Queensland Health, April 2012, http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/bl-notif-2010.pdf

Tasmania (TAS):

From: Department of Health and Human Services, TAS

Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 1:00 PM

To: The LEAD Group Inc.

Subject: Case management of notified blood lead levels

Dear Elizabeth

Please find attached a couple of documents from Tasmania for the investigation of blood lead levels.

Kind Regards,

Public & Environmental Health | Department of Health and Human Services

3/25 Argyle St Hobart  GPO Box 125 Hobart Tas 7001

Phone (03) 6222 7777

A fair and healthy Tasmania


Tasmanian Notifiable Disease - Lead Case Investigation Draft Form (2005), Public & Environmental Health, Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania

Tasmanian Notifiable Disease Lead Exposure Draft (2005), Public & Environmental Health, Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania

South Australia (SA)

From: SA Health Department

Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 5:51 PM

To: 'The LEAD Group Inc.'

Subject: RE: Case management of notified blood lead levels

Hi Elizabeth,

In South Australia, elevated lead levels is not a notifiable condition (unlike Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania), therefore local Environmental Health Officers do not follow up these results.

Should a physician find an elevated lead level, a public health practitioner from Public Health Services or the Environmental Health Centre, Port Pirie, would follow up the case if warranted. The practitioner would use their professional knowledge to do so, which essentially uses a questionnaire not dissimilar to Victoria.

NHMRC are working on a national document for health practitioners.

Thank you for your e-mail,

Communications Division, SA Health, Government of South Australia

Victoria (VIC):

From: Department of Health, Vic

Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 3:58 PM

To: The LEAD Group Inc.

Subject: Attention Elizabeth: responding to elevated blood lead notifications

Dear Elizabeth,

Further to your enquiry, attached is the article 'Elevated blood lead notifications:  the first six months' written in the Victorian Infectious Diseases Bulletin (VIDB), vol. 14, issue 1, March 2011. The section under "Public health action as a result of notifications", summarises how we respond to elevated blood lead notifications.  This bulletin can also be found at:


The Victorian Department of Health promotes awareness of potential exposure to lead through health forums, provision of resources to doctors &/or concerned members of the public, and through our website and Better Health Channel.  The available resources include:

National Health & Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) information paper and public statement about blood lead levels for Australians, which may be sent to doctors and patients respectively (see attached).

'The six step guide to painting your home', 4th edition, Lead Alert, Australian Government.   [ http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/e9ddd00e-8914-4d57-8279-19b3d2616dee/files/leadpaint.pdf ]

Department of Health (Victoria) website:


Better Health Channel information about blood lead poisoning, found at:


The Department aims to minimise exposure to lead in the community through raising awareness of potential sources of lead.


Healthy Environments Program Area | Environmental Health Unit | Health Protection Branch

Department of Health | 15/50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

p. 03 9096 5619


Victorian Infectious Diseases Bulletin (March 2011),Victoria Department of Health http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/Victorian-Infectious-Diseases-Bulletin-March-2011

Blood lead levels for Australians INFORMATION PAPER, An Information Paper for practitioners and policy makers (August 2009) National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/synopses/gp02-lead-info-paper.pdf

NHMRC Public Statement,- Blood lead levels: Lead exposure and health effects in Australia (August 2009), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/synopses/gp03-lead-pub-stmnt.pdf

Healthy Homes - A Guide to Indoor Air Quality in the Home for Buyers, Builders and Renovators (2002) Department of Health and Ageing, http://www.nphp.gov.au/enhealth/council/pubs/pdf/healthyhomes.pdf

Environmental Health - Chemical Risks: Lead Poisoning (2012) Better Health Channel, State Government of Victoria, Department of Health, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Lead_poisoning

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

From: Health Directorate, ACT

Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 3:52 PM

To: The LEAD Group Inc.

Subject: FW: Case management of notified blood lead levels

Dear Elizabeth,

Elevated blood lead levels are not a notifiable condition in the ACT, and as such, the ACT does not have any public health management guidelines for this condition. In the event that we became aware of cases of elevated blood lead levels, a public health investigation would be initiated and we would utilise the NSW Health Guidelines for lead poisoning which can be found here: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/guideline/lead.html

You may have seen the National Health and Medical Research’s website, which includes some interesting information regarding lead exposure and associated health effects in Australia. This information can be found here: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/lead-exposure-and-health-effects

I hope this information is of use to you and answers your query.

Kind regards

Communicable Disease Control, Health Directorate, ACT Government,

Ph 6205 2052


Lead Poisoning: Response protocol for NSW Public Health Units, (Last updated 24/1/12) NSW Government, Department of Health, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/guideline/lead.html

Lead Exposure and Health effects in Australia – NHMRC position (last reviewed 2/3/12), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/lead-exposure-and-health-effects

Western Australia (WA)

From: Environmental Health Directorate, WA

Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 3:05 PM

To: The LEAD Group Inc.

Subject: Lead resources from WA Dept of Health website

Dear Elizabeth

Thank you for your phone query re: Lead resources from the Western Australia Department of Health (DOH) Website. I have attached below the web links to our public health website which will provide you with the appropriate information.

The web link to the WA DOH Public Health website is: http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/

Please note that the WA Public Health web link can be accessed from the DOH website http://www.health.wa.gov.au/  which is located on the right column under Health Topics A-Z.

Once you are in the WA Public Health website  (http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/ ), you will be able to access lead resources by clicking on the A-Z Topics and Diseases link and by clicking on the letter ‘L’ to search for Lead. You can also enter the word ‘lead’ in the search box located at the top right hand corner of the website. This will give you access to general information on lead, any lead issues in Western Australia e.g. in Esperance and Geraldton, as well as information on lead poisoning notification.

I hope the information above addresses your queries. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Kind Regards

Environmental Health Hazards Unit

T 9388 4977

WA Environmental Health Directorate | PO Box 8172 | Perth Business Centre | WA 6849

Work days 8-4pm Tuesday & Thursday


Health hazards: Lead (Last updated June 2011), Government of WA, Department of Health http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/3/1141/2/lead.pm

Minimising the health risks of lead (June 2011), Government of WA, Department of Health, http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/cproot/3987/2/Minimising_the_health_risks_of_lead.pdf

New South Wales (NSW)

From: BURCHETT, Martyn

Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 4:00 PM

To: The LEAD Group

Subject: RE: NSW Lead Response Protocol

Dear Ms O’Brien

As requested please find below useful lead related URLs

1) Guidance for DIY renovators – DIY Safe – Dust and Fume Hazards



2) Factsheet on environmental exposure of children to lead


Environmental Health Branch (EHB) has noted the information provided in your email and will be updated when it’s due for review.

3) Blood lead notifications by year can found in NSW Public Health Bulletin, Notifications - year in review edition


4) NSW Health Statistics can be accessed under the appropriate indicator, which is generated for the NSW Chief Health Officers Report.


5) NSW Health Response Protocol for Lead Poisoning


Martyn Burchett

Policy Support Officer | NSW Ministry of Health, Population and Public Health, Environmental Health Branch

Postal Address: PO Box 798, Gladesville, NSW, 1675

Tel 02 9816 0234



NSW Health Factsheet - DIY Safe (2005), Environmental Health, NSW Department of Health, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/environment/diy/index.asp

DIY Safely Booklet (2005) NSW Government: Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW), NSW Health Department, NSW Commerce Office of Fair Trading, WorkCover Authority, Local Government Association of NSW, Shires Association of NSW, Department of Local Government, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/resources/publichealth/environment/diy/pdf/diysafely.pdf

NSW Health Factsheet - Lead Exposure in Young Children (2007), NSW Department of Health, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/environmental/lead.html

NSW Government Public Health Statistics Searchable Database Application (2011), Public Health, NSW Department of Health, http://www.healthstats.nsw.gov.au/

Control Guideline: Lead Poisoning - Response Protocol for NSW Public Health Units (2012), Ministry of Health, NSW Department of Health, http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/guideline/lead.html

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