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Type: Journal article
Title: An evaluation of recent blood lead levels in Port Pirie, South Australia
Author: Maynard, E. J.
Thomas, Raylene
Simon, David
Phipps, Catherine
Ward, Carla
Calder, Ian Campbell
Citation: Science of the Total Environment, 2003; 303(1-2):25-33
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Issue Date: 2003
ISSN: 0048-9697
School/Discipline: School of Medical Sciences : Pharmacology
Statement of
Edward Maynard, Raylene Thomas, David Simon, Catherine Phipps, Carla Ward and Ian Calder
Abstract: The Port Pirie Lead Program commenced in 1984. The abatement program involves identification of children with elevated blood lead levels, house decontamination, soil treatment, development of heavily vegetated buffer zones around the smelter, family education and support and community education. Since 1984 the smelter has also implemented substantial new emission controls and environmental improvements. Blood lead and air monitoring programs as well as investigations of emission sources, ongoing household contamination and infant exposure mechanisms are in place. Although capillary blood lead monitoring has shown a significant decrease in the mean blood lead levels of the children, 61% of children aged 1–4 years still exceed 10 μg/dl, with 28% at or above 15 μg/dl. Re-entrainment of lead from the contaminated areas within the city is only a small contributor to air-borne lead levels compared with that from the smelter and its environs. The smelter has undertaken extensive work to reduce windborne fugitive emissions. While attempts to demonstrate reductions in air lead have been hampered by large annual variations in wind speed and direction, air lead studies have confirmed that only small losses are now arising from the stockpile area of the smelter site. Evidence suggests that worker hygiene improvements, relocation of children to lower exposure suburbs, community education, house decontamination, specific measures for individual children with elevated blood lead, and avoidance of tank rainwater have all been partially successful. A substantial investigation program has refocused intervention efforts towards reducing exposure from indoor environments during the first year of life and contributed to improved identification and ranking of ongoing smelter emission sources.
Keywords: Lead; Lead smelting; Lead abatement; Blood lead; Air lead; Fugitive emissions; Household contamination; Airborne lead
RMID: 0020091783
DOI: 10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00359-5
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Appears in Collections:Pharmacology publications

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