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The LEAD Group Inc
The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
Working to eliminate lead poisoning globally and to protect the
environment from lead in all its uses: past, current and new uses
ABN 25 819 463 114
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Keeping Australian Lead Out of Leaded Petrol Initiative.

MEDIA RELEASE 13th September 1999

Lead Poisoning Is Recognised Internationally As One Of The Greatest Environmental Health Risks Facing Children Today

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It Is Lead Poisoning Awareness Day
On Wednesday 20th October 1999!

Could you please support lead awareness day by preparing an article? It would be greatly appreciated and will help to raise  the community  awareness of lead poisoning.

Why is lead called "the Silent Epidemic"?

At least 75,000 Australian children aged between 1-4 and countless other older children are estimated to have too much lead in their blood. Most parents never know lead has and is affecting their children because hardly any few blood lead tests are done in Australia on at-risk children. Unless you know the blood lead level of your child you are unable to respond appropriately. The attached Risk Factor Questionnaire needs to be published widely so parents know to ask their doctors to order the test for their children.

What lead does to your health.

Lead can affect children by causing learning and attention problems, hearing loss, slowed growth and bad behaviour. Lead can affect pregnant women and pass through the mother’s body and harm the unborn baby. Lead can affect adults too. Low levels of exposure can cause joint and muscle pain, high blood pressure and infertility. Higher levels of lead poisoning can cause memory loss, nerve problems and at very high levels, fits and death.

Who is most at risk?

Lead can effect anybody but children under the age of five and pregnant women are most at risk. The poisonous effects of lead can cause damage to the developing brain and nervous system of unborn and young children much more easily than in adults. Children absorb 50% of the lead they take into their bodies. Adults absorb 10% of the lead they take into their bodies. Children have more hand to mouth activity and are more sensitive to the effects of lead.

SOURCES OF LEAD - The most common forms of lead exposure are from:

Lead based paint Used in many Australian homes before 1970. The risk increases if paint is flaking or containing residues of lead from paint chalking and is particularly high when removed by sanding, hot airguns, sandblasting or burning during renovations.

Household dust from soil, paint removal or fallout from petrol vehicles and industrial emissions. In some areas the dust also may contain lead from mines or smelters.

Soil contamination due to previous industrial activities leaded petrol emissions or contamination by lead based paint.

Air Pollution Mainly due to emissions from leaded petrol, lead industries, mining and smelting. Air pollution doesn’t just go away, it settles as a fine dust in the ceiling void and in carpets and soft furnishings etc.

Food when contaminated with leaded petrol fallout, grown in contaminated soil, or stored in lead crystal glassware, in pottery with lead based ceramic glazes or in cans with soldered seams.

Hobbies and Occupations When people take lead residues back into their homes after contact with lead in their homes after contact with lead in their work or hobbies.

Consumer Products

Do not burn candles that have a metal core in the wick. Remove the lead weights from curtains or mosquito nets if these are accessible to your children. Return leaded PVC mini-blinds to the store. Don’t let your plumber use leaded solder, etc.

Prevention of Lead Hazards.

  • Use wet sanding and wet scraping when painting - don’t create dust

  • Never use blow torches to strip paint

  • Wash hands and face before meals and shower and change clothes when you finish work

  • Wash work clothes separately from all other clothes and rinse the washing machine afterwards

  • Children and pregnant women should move out of the house during renovations

  • Wet wipe instead of dusting

  • Vacuum and mop instead of sweeping

  • Eat a balanced diet

  • Wash children’s toys frequently

  • Grass or put plants over bare areas of dirt

  • HEPA Vacuum clean regularly

Contact The Lead Advisory Service for lead information and referrals

Phone - 1800 626 086 or (02) 9716 0132, Fax – 02 9716 9005

Thank you for your time.

For further information

Please contact The LEAD Group ph (02) 9716 0014  ###

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Last Updated 26 March 2012
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PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014