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  QUESTION: Health effects of Lead Poisoning and statistical data, 24 Aug 2005, Victoria Australia

I would like any information you have on the Health effects of Lead Poisoning and any statistical data you may have ?

Thanks in advance
Kind regards
Kate Barrett

ANSWER: 23 Aug 2005

Dear Kate,

The most useful document we have put together is the health effects of lead poisoning and you will find a number of the references listed on that fact sheet in our searchable online library

As for statistical data - Australia's policy seems to be that if you don't look you won't find a problem with lead poisoning and as a result there is no national survey of lead in blood for all ages and the only national blood lead survey in children was published in 1996, Lead in Australian children Report on the National Survey of Lead in Children. By John Donovan with assistance from Phil Anderson, Caroline Daley, Tony Lea and Peter Luhse. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra.

In the United States, they have excellent large-scale regular national blood lead surveys on all ages - see for instance Exposure of the U.S. Population to Lead, 1991-1994  By J L. Pirkle, R B. Kaufmann, D J. Brody, T. Hickman, E W. Gunter, D C. Paschal. National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341 USA.(also attached).

The World Health Organisation has also done some estimates on the number of people with blood lead levels above 10 micrograms per decilitre (120 million) and between 5 and 10 micrograms per decilitre (a further 120 million) but frankly I can't believe that the figures would be as LOW as that!

See Lead: Assessing the environmental burden of disease Environmental burden of disease series No. 2. By L Fewtrell, R Kaufmann, A Prüss-Üstün. © World Health Organization 2003

I trust this helps.
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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