TLAP Statement – Q3 2018 Analysis of Port Pirie Children’s blood lead levels
The Targeted Lead Abatement Program (TLAP) is to further intensify its activities over the next three months to address an increased potential for children to be exposed to lead.
TLAP continuously monitors variation in the risks of exposure to lead and has flexible management programs to respond to changes in environmental conditions.
TLAP is actively working with the Environmental Health Centre (EHC) and the Port Pirie Regional Council to step up its community dust management activities.
In past months, public spaces have been cleaned more frequently. This work will be intensified as will the cleaning regimes at the homes of affected families. In particular, this will include a focus on families with children with lead-in-blood levels above 20 ug/dL, and those who are at risk of an upward blood lead trajectory.
TLAP has agreed to fund a resource dedicated to reducing dust in the homes of these families.
The TLAP Cleaning Team and the staff of childcare centres will continue their usual activities in removing and managing dust in critical locations. For example, at Early Learning Centres, building surfaces that could expose children to lead dust are vacuum cleaned and pressure washed.
Similarly, EHC caseworker interactions with families will continue to receive close attention to reduce exposure risks inside homes.
While the commissioning of the new smelter will eventually lower lead-in-air emissions, other sources of dust on the site can still contribute to lead in air. TLAP has provided resources to reduce dust from these sources. This includes the application of specialised dust suppressants on stockpiles, which has been successful.
Playgrounds are obvious sources of exposure for young children and TLAP will further intensify its cleaning activities around these facilities in the next three months.
TLAP and Port Pirie Regional Council will discuss management of playgrounds during this three-month period, and whether further action is needed to minimise these risks.
While TLAP, EHC and the Port Pirie community continue to work diligently to minimise risks, dust management remains a heightened concern until full commissioning of the new smelter which is expected in 2020.