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  QUESTION: Is home lead fishing sinker-making legal in Bega Valley Shire 2, 21 Nov 2005, New South Wales Australia

Dear Sir / Madam,

Last week I emailed enquiring about the laws concerning the making of "homemade" lead sinkers. At a recent meeting, a local said that it was now illegal to smelt / melt lead for sinkers in the back yard. I haven't received a reply yet, and wonder if you could get back to me before this Friday, 25th November.

Ian Gordon

EMAIL TWO November 24, 2005

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you very much for your very comprehensive / exhaustive reply to my question re "homemade sinker smelting". Particularly, at a time when you are obviously having a "funding fight". All the best with the government finances!

And thanks again, I'll pass all your info on to the local boys.

Ian Gordon

ANSWER: 22 Nov 2005

Dear Ian,

sorry for the delay in researching and responding to your query but we've been trying to avert the closure of our entirely volunteer-run service by shoring up some funding and although we've gleaned none from state or local governments, we were advised today that if we can avoid paying bills until 8th December then the federal environment minister will come to our rescue.

I was able to contact your local council (see emails below) for the answer today and I trust this helps. If you would advise your members that prevention of lead poisoning (and lead contamination) is the best "treatment", then I'd sleep a lot better at night. Better still, you could let them all know about non-lead sinkers now available in Australia from

It is important if people do proceed with this activity that they do not leave themselves open to being sued by their neighbours by allowing lead fumes or lead dust/debris to enter the neighbours' property. If any of your members is the type that says "I've been making sinkers for years and there's nothing wrong with me" then an excellent "proof" of this allegation is if they can also provide a very low blood lead analysis report for themselves organised through their doctor. Please refer your members to the following relevant factsheets:

LEAD ALERT FACTS: Lead in Recreational Activities and Beware the Lead in Lead Lighting (I know this is not leadlighting but the management is similar)

Elizabeth O'Brien

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