Feb 14, 2017

Report released on air-based lead exposure in Mount Isa

Report released on air-based lead exposure in Mount Isa

It seems maintaining a good standard of personal hygiene in Mount isa is the best way to stop the effects of lead generated both in the environment and from industrial sources.

Mount Isa Mines has released the Lead Pathways Study Air Report on the ingestion of lead among residents which concluded the majority of cases occurred hand to mouth.

In 2006, Mount Isa Mines commissioned The University of Queensland (UQ) to undertake a series of three studies to better understand the impacts.

The Land Report was released in 2009 and the Water Report was released in 2012. 

The Air Report concluded that the potential lead exposure risk of children from inhalation was limited and mostly related to ingestion via hand to mouth activity.

The study reinforced the importance of Mount Isa residents taking active steps to minimise their exposure to lead and participate in regular blood lead level testing, particularly young children.

Led by UQ Associate Professor Barry Noller and Dr Jack Ng, the Air Report covered the period 2006 to 2013 and included a health risk assessment that focused on children under five years of age.

The studies were one of a number of inputs that Mount Isa Mines considered as part of its approach to continuous improvement of the site’s environmental performance, said Chief Operating Officer for Glencore’s Copper Assets in Australia Mike Westerman.

“Our environmental initiatives are aligned with the Air Report’s recommendations and we are proactively supporting the Lead Alliance to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining a clean home, good personal hygiene and a nutritious diet,” he said.

“As modern regulations and accepted science has evolved, so has Mount Isa Mines.

“We urge residents to support the work of the Lead Alliance and be proactive about managing their exposure to lead.”

Mount Isa Mines will be implementing four new initiatives in 2017, including:

  • Boosting financial support of the Lead Alliance by $100,000 to help the organisation expand their reach and increase access to health programs in the Mount Isa community.
  • Providing an additional $50,000 to the Lead Alliance to develop a smartphone application aimed at driving positive behavioural changes with tips, reminders and blood lead level tracking.
  • Releasing a monthly Air Quality Dashboard via the Mount Isa Mines website to provide greater transparency about the operation’s performance against key environmental indicators.
  • Investing in additional targeted community health initiatives as part of the Glencore Community Program North Queensland, including those focused on Mount Isa’s Indigenous community.