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