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“Go tell it on the mountain” – 
Australian NGO launches policy for lead poisoning prevention

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The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group, has developed a model policy for national governments to prevent lead poisoning in their own populations.

The policy is The LEAD Group’s contribution to the NHMRC’s (National Health and Medical Research Council) recent Canberra meeting to develop such a policy for Australia.

“The problem of lead poisoning goes beyond Australia,” says Elizabeth O’Brien, President of The LEAD Group. “And what goes around comes around – lead-contaminated food, toys and other products being a case in point.”

“Australia’s lead (and lead-containing coal) is exported to the world. It’s therefore appropriate and a moral imperative, that The LEAD Group “export” a policy, via our website, for preventing lead poisoning and contamination.”

The model policy outlines the steps national health ministers need to take to cover the three phases of preventing lead poisoning: primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

“A critical mass of research exists for national governments to consult, in formulating the specific details of their own policy,” said Ms O’Brien, “but, we also recommend they ask the World Health Organisation to carry out research in tertiary prevention – that is, preventing the lead already in a person’s body from causing further harm. We all carry a burden of lead because of “the mistake of the 20th century” – adding lead to petrol.”

“Research is needed on whether treatment or other interventions prevent any of the associated adverse effects that are linked with lead: infertility, sub-optimal foetal and childhood development, later schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and hypertension to name a few” she said.

“Rapid industrialization, by India and China in particular, means the adoption by those countries, of a national policy for preventing lead poisoning is vital for the health of their populations. Because of the high prevalence of lead poisoning in China, The LEAD Group has just web-published our first non-English language factsheet, in Chinese.” See 铅,衰老和死亡 - “Lead, Ageing and Death.

“The LEAD Group’s continued existence and growth will help promote adoption, by the countries of the world, of the model health policy for the achievement of our ultimate goal – global lead poisoning elimination and the protection of the environment from lead.”

Contact: Elizabeth O’Brien, The LEAD Group - +61 2 9716 0132, mobile +61 431 184 933     ###

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Last Updated 15 April 2012
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