Not good enough: wor­ried Mum Isa kids’ lead lev­els de­cline

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Bar­bara Lynch bar­bara. lynch@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE mother Daphne Hare says find­ings in­di­cat­ing the lead lev­els in more than 160 Mount Isa chil­dren showed a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment was good, but not good enough.

Queens­land Health’s Mount Isa Com­mu­nity Lead Screen­ing Pro­gram 2010, which ran from Fe­bru­ary-Oc­to­ber 2010, showed an av­er­age lead level of 4.27 mi­cro­grams per de­cil­itre, with the low­est read­ing at 1.9 and the high­est at 22.4.

Miss Hare, whose daugh­ter Stella was di­ag­nosed with ir­re­versible brain dam­age she be­lieves was caused by high lead lev­els from liv­ing in Mount Isa, said some­thing needed to be done to lower the lev­els.

‘‘ I def­i­nitely still think it’s a prob­lem and has been for a lot of years,’’ she said.

Queens­land Health chief health of­fi­cer Dr Jean­nette Young said the re­sults showed eight ( or 4.8 per cent) of the to­tal sam­ple had el­e­vated blood lev­els greater than 10 mi­cro­grams per de­cil­itre.

Of these, one child had a blood l e a d l e v e l g r e a t e r t h a n 2 0 mi­cro­grams per de­cil­itre.

‘‘ The num­bers have ob­vi­ously dropped and that’s a good thing and the news it’s 4.8 per cent or even 10 per cent is good but zero per­cent­age is bet­ter,’’ Miss Hare said.

‘‘ It’s ( Mount Isa) just not a place for chil­dren to be be­cause of the lead ex­po­sure and I think peo­ple should do what­ever is nec­es­sary not to have this hap­pen to their chil­dren.’’

The Queens­land Health re­port re­leased yes­ter­day also com­pared re­sults from a study con­ducted in 2006-2007 chil­dren.

Three chil­dren had blood lev­els greater than 20 mi­cro­grams per de­cil­itre.

‘‘ This shows a de­cline be­tween this sur­vey and the pre­vi­ous sur­vey in both the av­er­age blood lead lev­els and the per­cent­age of chil­dren’s blood lead lev­els at or about 10 mi­cro­grams per de­cil­itre,’’ Dr Young said.

She said as soon as el­e­vated lead re­sults be­came known to Queens­land Health they ac­tively case­m­an­aged the chil­dren and as­sisted their fam­i­lies to bring those lev­els down to be­low 10 mi­cro­grams per de­cil­itre.

Miss Hare said she had not heard from Queens­land Health since Stella was di­ag­nosed.

‘‘ This is false in­for­ma­tion be­cause no one has ever knocked on my door. I’ve never had help from Queens­land Health,’’ she said.

Miss Hare is tak­ing on min­ing gi­ant Xs­trata for lead poi­son­ing and said she didn’t be­lieve any­thing they, or Queens­land Health said to de­fend the lead lev­els.

The re­port also re­vealed in­dige­nous chil­dren con­tin­ued to test h i g h e r t h a n o t h e r c h i l d r e n , al­though this trend was de­clin­ing.

The re­port can be found at www. health. qld. gov. au.





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