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MEDIA RELEASE - Wednesday 22nd September 2010

Twenty Years of LEAD Campaigning - The LEAD Group 20 years on

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Twenty years ago, three families in Summer Hill got together to found The LEAD Group, a not-for-profit organization committed to the elimination of poisoning from the heavy metal, Lead. The families were the Baloghs, the O’Donnells and the O’Briens.

The families were motivated by the discovery that houses they either owned or were considering buying in Summer Hill were contaminated by lead; and also, in Elizabeth O’Brien’s case, by finding out that her youngest son had a blood lead level far higher than was considered “safe” by the standards of the time.

Elizabeth O’Brien is still going strong, and the organization she helped found punches above its weight. The web site has received nearly 2 million hits from 212 countries, and there have been over 76000 inquiries (mostly e-mails) from 128 countries seeking information and advice on dealing with the dangers of lead.

To mark the occasion, The LEAD Group has devoted much of its latest web-published LEAD Action News volume 11 number 1 to landmark achievements over the twenty years.

These include:

1993: The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) changed from setting a blood lead level of 25 µg/dL (micrograms per decilitre) as the “level of concern” (meaning something should be done to lower it), down to a goal of under 10 µg/dL.

2002, January 1st: End of lead in petrol for on-road vehicles, in Australia.

2010, January 1st: End of lead as an additive, in ALL paints and inks manufactured, imported and sold in Australia.

What are the current and envisaged objectives of The LEAD Group?

According to Elizabeth, “the Next Big Thing is the global elimination of lead in petrol. (There are currently some 11 countries which still permit the use of lead in petrol.)

“Then there’s getting it into people’s heads that lead from petrol is still out there - in ceiling cavity dust which should be removed by a professional dust contractor - and in their bones. [In Australia the appropriate body is ADRA :Australian Dust Removalists Association. ]The LEAD Group calls on pharmaceutical researchers to determine if millions of lives could be extended by chelation treatment to remove lead from the body. Early death by heart attack or stroke is the silent (undiagnosed) price of our era - the era / error of leaded petrol.”

Contact: Elizabeth O’Brien, Manager, Global Lead Advice and Support Service, Australia
Phone +61 2 97160014, mobile 0431 184 933, Freecall within Australia 1800 626 086 ###

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Last Updated 17 April 2012
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