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Media Release – Monday 22nd October 2012

Launch of art prize to celebrate 15th anniversary of
Lead Poisoning Awareness Week

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The inaugural Volcano Art Prize was launched today in the Jubilee Room, at NSW Parliament House, as part of the 15th anniversary of Lead Poisoning Awareness Week (20th-26th October).

Why ‘Volcano’? Because, in the lead-safe world The LEAD Group aims for, the only source of lead in air will be volcanoes.

Currently the main source of lead in the air is leaded AvGas, sanding of leaded paint, industrial emissions such as concrete works and of course, lead mines and old lead smelters. Only a handful of countries remain still using leaded petrol. The LEAD Group is at the forefront of the campaign to phase out leaded petrol and paint globally.

LEAD Group President Elizabeth O’Brien says “researchers in the USA have estimated that 30 million Americans (approximately 10% of the population) will die early, mainly from heart attack or stroke, due to their earlier exposure to lead. If you don’t want to be one of the possible 2.2 million Australians to suffer a similar fate, you’ll want to become lead-aware.”

Volcano Art Prize contestants were asked to design images to illustrate a lead-safety message. The resultant 30 finalists’ striking designs can be viewed at – the artists, from Australia, Spain, USA and Cameroon, ranged in age from 18 to 82 years.

The winning 13 images – each with a different lead-safety message have been used to produce a calendar for 2013. Calendars can be purchased on the website for $20 (Oz postage included).

The LEAD Group will donate calendars to schools in older urban areas, and lead-mining and processing towns, such as Broken Hill, NSW, Mt Isa, Qld, Port Pirie, SA and Rosebery, Tasmania, in order to inspire entries from children for the 2013 Volcano Art Prize, now open.

The presentation of Picture products mugs and Calendar prizes at Parliament House was hosted by Melinda Pavey, Parliamentary Secretary to the NSW Health Minister.

The world’s first Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, was celebrated by the then NSW Health Minister, in 1997, on the Centenary of the publication of the world’s first medical journal article, (in Australia) about lead poisoning in children, published October 20th 1897.

“The LEAD Group asks Australian governments to lead the way and show other nations how to raise awareness about lead in 2013, in preparation for the World Health Organisation declaring a global day of action for lead poisoning prevention in coming years,” says O’Brien.

Contact: Elizabeth O'Brien, The LEAD Group Inc. - 0431 184 933 ###

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Last Updated 22 October 2012
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