LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News Vol 2 no 4 Spring 1994.  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.

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About The LEAD Group Inc.

The LEAD Group exists because the problem of lead poisoning affects millions of people throughout the world, often causing severe health problems.

The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group (LEAD) is a not-for-profit community organisation which develops and provides information and referrals on lead poisoning and lead contamination prevention and management. Our goal is Working to eliminate lead poisoning globally and to protect the environment from lead in all its uses: past, current and new uses.

We aim to achieve this in three main ways:

  1. Through information and referrals on our website including self-help egroups and Question and Answer;

  2. Input into government policy on lead abatement and the elimination of lead in products and processes;

  3. Advice and advocacy nationally and globally. (The new name of our advisory service reflects the global nature of the service.)

The LEAD Group Inc. is made up of dedicated volunteers, a Committee, a Technical Advisory Board as well as staff of the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS). Established 1991 in Sydney, Australia, The LEAD Group Inc. is now a central source of information about lead, globally. (History)

Since our 1991 inception we have had many achievements both locally in Australia and internationally. (What we do / Achievements)

Essential to our operation is the work of volunteers in Sydney. We are always looking for people who can help. (Contact us, placements)

What We Do:

The LEAD Group has provided the following services, nationally and internationally:

  • Telephone advice for parents and carers of lead poisoned children.

  • Awareness raising about the problems of lead in lead mining, smelting, manufacturing and urban communities, especially inner-city areas.

  • Helped foster the development of a ceiling dust removal industry in Sydney and other major Australian cities and lead affected rural areas, whilst encouraging the lead abatement industry, especially manufacturers of lead substitute products with export potential.

  • Developed a comprehensive library (possibly the largest public resource of this kind, in the world) covering all aspects of lead.

  • Web-published numerous factsheets, databases of referrals and library items, and LEAD Action News, a quarterly newsletter containing all the latest on lead issues.

  • Distributed free, independent and authoritative information packs and individual information products totalling 8,358,386 copies in the last 9 years.

  • Organised advisory sessions, information nights and a self-help egroup Plumbism and Autism Network (PAN) for groups of parents with lead-affected children.

  • Developed networks of people working on lead issues, in order to maintain the best referral database on lead in Australia.

  • Worked with local councils on environmental policy development especially through the NSW Council LEAD Project.

Some Achievements:

  • Contributed significantly to the successful lobbying for reduced use of lead in Australian petrol. A 50% reduction in the level of lead petrol was agreed to and completed by January 1995. By 2000 there had been a 75% reduction in total lead petrol sold. Leaded petrol was phased-out by January 2002.

  • Successfully lobbied the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for a change in the Australian blood lead "standard". The old "level of concern" of 25 g/dL (micrograms per decilitre) was replaced in June 1993 with a series of blood lead "action levels" and a national goal of <10 g/dL.

  • Successful lobbying for blood lead testing of 1-4 year-olds in Summer Hill, in inner western Sydney.

  • Lobbied for education programs and certifying for lead paint removalists and ceiling dust removalists.

  • Consulted with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in workshops to design a national strategy on lead abatement ("Reducing Lead Exposure in Australia", July 1993).

International Work:

  • Contributed to an OECD lead monograph and the development of an OECD Lead Control Act and OECD Ministerial Agreement on lead risk reduction in 1996 (which Australia is a signatory to). (Review of OECD Declaration)

  • Addressed the Newcastle, Washington (1994 and 2002), Bangalore (India) and Port Pirie international lead conferences and the Alice Springs mining sustainability international conference.

  • At meetings of the Commission on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in New York in May 1994 and April 1995 successfully lobbied delegates for an international agreement on the phase-out of lead in petrol and other consumer products.


The LEAD Group was established in 1991, Sydney Australia by parents of lead poisoned children and individuals who were shocked by the significant health impact lead poisoning had on their children.

It was apparent government at all levels lacked a comprehensive strategy to prevent this most common environmental health problem. Lead poisoning needed a voice.

The LEAD Group was then established as an incorporated association in 1992 surviving on private membership and subscription fees. Funding was received in 1992 from Leichhardt Council, and then in 1993 from the NRMA.

In June 1995, in recognition of the valuable work of the LEAD Group volunteers, the federal government awarded a grant sufficient to employ three people to run the national LEADLINE Project (Freecall 1800 626 086), now known as the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS).

Since that time funding from government has declined significantly, despite this the LEAD Group continues to advocate for the ongoing problems lead contamination is causing.

How you can help:

  • The LEAD Group has many functions, and as a result we need volunteers - from anywhere in Australia or the world, requiring an incredibly wide range of skills - from putting stamps on envelopes to talking at the United Nations.

  • If you can't spare the time to help, perhaps you can send in examples of leaded consumer products, soft copy articles on lead, unused postage stamps, A4 photocopy paper and envelopes, but check with us first please – the office space is very small. No elephants!

  • Become a member of The LEAD Group and/or make a donation to the Lead Education and Abatement Fund.

  • Write to your environment, consumer/fair trading, industrial relations, housing, mining or health minister about your concerns about lead and what you would like the minister to do. Otherwise politicians are inclined to assume that lead poisoning is no longer a problem. If The LEAD Group has helped you, please add this to your letter as this strengthens our case when applying for government funding.

This fact sheet Updated 26th February 2006
by Daniel Hyslop, Anne Roberts and Elizabeth O’Brien.

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Last Updated 14 November 2012
Copyright The LEAD Group Inc. 1991 - 2012
PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014