LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News vol 4 no 1  Summer 1996    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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Feedback on the LEADLINE Project

by Robin Mosman, The LEAD Group

The following examples illustrate the overwhelmingly positive feedback from LEADLINE inquirers about the service.

A librarian with Standards Australia contacted LEADLINE about a particular document for use in the preparation of a Standard for lead-based paint management. Although this document had been written by someone within the Department of Public Works, that department, and five other government departments had no record of it. LEADLINE was able to access this document within 24 hours. The new Standard is expected to be in much demand  - "We'll sell a lot of them."

Also, Standards Australia receives a lot of consumer inquiries - "There is an increasing demand for information by consumers" - and LEADLINE has now been listed in the Standards Australia referral data base. "We will be sending a lot of inquiries to LEADLINE. I’ve been having to send inquirers to the Australian Consumers Association even though I know they won’t be able to help because the queries are too specific."

He considered that LEADLINE provided an excellent low-cost-ratio service. He made the point that government departments are over-burdened and do not have time to deal with consumer inquiries. "They are not set up to provide information to the general public. It is not part of their agenda." In view of this, he considered that LEADLINE’s service was an invaluable aid to government departments, saving their time and resources at a very low cost.

A lead assessor now running a lead paint management training course in conjunction with Professor Gulson for Macquarie University's Centre for Open Education, has indicated that a number of the bookings for their first course in April 1996 have resulted in referrals made by LEADLINE.

An architect who does a lot of work in Sydney renovating pre-schools was so impressed by the information provided by LEADLINE to a client of his that he rang to request a copy for himself.

A doctor in Sydney’s inner west said that he had identified 3 patients with high blood lead levels in the last 3 months, something he would not have been able to do without LEADLINE information.

He says that "LEADLINE is an invaluable reference source for doctors. There is no other comparable resource available. There is a dearth of information on lead available for doctors. The issue of lead is not dealt with in medical journals despite the need for such information."

This situation was highlighted when LEADLINE received an inquiry from the paediatrician dealing with the 3 yr old boy who swallowed a lead sinker, resulting in a blood lead level of 3.3 mol/L (70 g/dL). This case was described in LEADLINE’s 2nd Quarterly Report. Thirteen months later, the child’s paediatrician contacted LEADLINE in an effort to find out if the child’s continuing high blood lead level (15 g/dL) could cause ADD.

When the child’s mother had contacted LEADLINE she had said: "No-one gave me any information on effects because they didn’t know themselves. No-one at the hospital was helpful - they did their job but it was a learning experience for them too. It was a bit frightening. They were experimenting with his medication, trying different things. No-one seemed to really know."

It would seem that over a year later the situation had not changed.

LEADLINE was able to refer the paediatrician to the most experienced medical lead educator in Australia.

A Sydney grandfather contacted LEADLINE for advice when his 16 month old granddaughter was found to have an elevated blood lead level. She lived with her parents, both doctors, in an old timber farmhouse in northern coastal NSW. There were multiple lead sources. The grandfather was prepared to go to extreme lengths to make his granddaughter’s environment safe. After long discussions with LEADLINE, armed with information, he and his wife headed north to spend whatever time it took to abate the old house.

Although doctors, the parents initially were not at all lead-aware. This changed dramatically when grandfather produced the EPA booklet provided by LEADLINE, "Lead Alert - A Guide For Health Professionals." "It put resolve into my son, to make sure everything was done properly." They moved out of the house while remediation was taking place, the grandparents working 12 hour days on the job. Extensive paint testing was done to identify the main sources of contamination, which turned out to be architraves and window frames, and particularly the wooden railing on the veranda surrounding the house. It seemed that the most likely source of the little girl’s contamination was the veranda paint, as once she could crawl she spent most of her time there. Grandfather removed the railings to an outlying paddock where he spent weeks wet-scraping them, bagging old paint as he went.

"It was quite an emotional time. I really liked the support I got from LEADLINE. I hadn’t known where to go, and LEADLINE gave me a way of attacking the whole thing. Your standards kept me on the straight and narrow too. I couldn’t speak highly enough of your service. It was unbiased. It was excellent.

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