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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Property - Buying and Renting - Case Studies

by Robin Mosman, The LEAD Group

Feedback from inquirers to LEADLINE is showing that the level of lead awareness is already such that people are increasingly taking lead hazards into account when considering buying or renting a property.

Case A, with 3 young children from 7 months to 5 yrs, was considering buying an old house in Centennial Park with its paint in original condition. Awareness of the difficulties involved in renovating doing this in a lead-safe way, and of the problems of historical lead in such an old suburb, resulted in a decision not to buy.

Case B, an environmental journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald, contacted LEADLINE after an article was published in the SMH on high blood lead levels of children living in Mort Bay, where he and his family live. He was prepared to consider moving from the area.

Case C, planning a family and the purchase of a home, wanted information on whether Leichhardt was a "safe area to raise a child from the point of view of lead."

Cases D, became so concerned when they realised the 80 yr old Queenslander they had contracted to buy was full of leaded paint, that they contacted LEADLINE to establish whether this would be legal grounds to pull out of their contract.

Case E, is a doctor who wrote to the landlord of the rented premises where his patients lived after he found a blood lead level of 0.96 µmol/L (20 µg/dL) in the 3 yr old patient and 1.5 µmol/L (31.05 µg/dL) in the 2 yr old sibling who was subsequently tested. The doctor had decided to remove the first child’s tonsils because of his general poor health, and ordered a blood lead test as part of blood testing prior to the operation. The doctor had become lead-aware himself only because of personal experience in renovating an old home. As a result of the doctor’s own experience, he now routinely orders blood lead tests when a child’s blood has to be tested for any reason.

The doctor informed the landlord that he might be liable for the consequences if he did not attempt location and abatement of the source of contamination. The real estate agent for the landlord contacted LEADLINE and testing of soil and peeling paint was arranged.

However, the tenants asked to be released from their lease in order to remove their children as soon as possible from the lead contamination, and sought out premises offering features that reduced the likelihood of further problems. Since moving, it has been established that soil in one area of the yard was the source, and remediation will be undertaken. In their new home, the children’s blood lead levels are already reducing significantly after only 6 weeks.

The doctor has written an article on the incident for a medical journal, drawing his colleagues’ attention to the need for opportunistic blood lead testing of children in at-risk environments.

See: Tenants Rights Fact Sheet

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