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The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
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  QUESTION: Info for school project on Lead Mining, 27 Jul 2004, Western Australia

Dear Lead incorporated,

Hi I'm doing a project about lead mining in school and was wondering if you could send me some information and/or possibly a sample of lead which you have mined.

It would be very much Appreciated.

Jemma Kenny

ANSWER: 28 Jul 2004

Dear Jemma,

The LEAD Group Incorporated is a community organisation aiming to eliminate lead poisoning in Australia and further afield and to protect the environment from lead. These aims are not normally achieved through lead mining, which is typically the start of the process of lead poisoning and lead contamination. Every use of lead hurts someone, somewhere, sometime. You will find some interesting information about the history and the problems with lead mining at the following websites:

  1. "Health Effects of Lead Exposure" fact sheet for miners by Yukon Worker's Health & Safety Compensation Board.
  2. "Biologists fish for heavy metals pollution data. USGS team studies how mining influences water quality"
  3. "Growing up in Kellogg. No other group of children in the U.S. has been so severely exposed to lead or other metals"
  4. You'll find a brief history of lead mining in "History Of Lead Poisoning In The World" by Professor Herbert Needleman.

Also see attached, "Prevention of Lead Poisoning [Factsheet for Lead Miners], from Report of the Board Appointed to Inquire into the Prevalence & Prevention of Lead Poisoning at the BROKEN HILL SILVER-LEAD MINES, ordered by the NSW Legislative Assembly Printed 25 May, 1893" - the oldest fact sheet on lead that we've ever found. In many countries where lead is mined today, even this 1893 information is probably more valuable than the information workers are given, about the hazards of lead mining.

And you'll hear from a corporation about how to manage lead mining for lead-acid batteries at: but keep in mind that due to black market trade in lead-acid batteries in third world countries, it is not the case that all lead-acid batteries are safely recycled so "Green Lead" is still a vision not yet achieved. 30-40% of the lead mined in the world is NOT used to make lead-acid batteries but is used in far less recyclable products, and where ever lead is used, it has the capacity to poison and contaminate for the rest of time, once removed from the ground.

I wish you luck with your assignment and if you send it to us, we can web-publish it along with your question.

Best wishes
Elizabeth O'Brien

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