Media Release, 4th June 1999
Australians Need a Toxics Info Line
Every day The LEAD Groups Lead Advisory Service (NSW) call centre gets asked questions like:
"Why do they allow open-cut mining in the heart of Broken Hill even though the lead, arsenic and cadmium that is escaping from the works is killing cattle and making workers and children sick?" OR
"If they just discovered in 1999 in India that 50% of the kids are lead poisoned and the Indian Government decided to ban leaded petrol by March 2000, how come they discovered in 1992 that 50% of inner Sydney children were lead poisoned, yet the Australian Government is only planning to ban leaded petrol by the year 2003? Why are we slower than a developing country to protect our children?"
And increasingly, were being asked questions about other toxics, like:
"How will all the traffic emissions affect my young family when the motorway stack is built?" OR
"Is it safe to buy a house near an industrial park if they have cement manufacturing, steel fabrication, plastics moulding and spray painting on the site?"
"Wed love to answer these questions too, says The LEAD Groups Coordinator Elizabeth OBrien, "or send the callers to a call centre that would give them credible up-to-date information, but all that the public can do is to ask industry or government these questions. And Federal Environment Minister Senator Hill has just released a plan to spend $5 million and three years just researching Air Toxics, with no timetable for reductions in emissions or keeping the public informed on the issue.
"The LEAD Group wants to ensure that the public is told about toxics, NOW, when they need to know. So we have written to Senator Hill to ask for a grant to extend The LEAD Groups information and referral (phone-based) service to be a national service that networks with other community groups and collects and disseminates information on all Air Toxics.
"Wont you help us? Please check out the enclosed LEAD Action News (Volume 7 No 1, 1999) for a sample of action thats being taken on toxics by The LEAD Group. Put The LEAD Group on your contact list for the next time a toxics issue arises - call us up and well try to find you someone to interview - a resident near a toxic industry, a poisoned person, etc, for the issue you want to cover."
Contact: Elizabeth OBrien on (02) 9716 0014 ###
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