Children's blood lead levels in the lead smelting town of port pirie, South Australia

Adrian Esterman, David Wilson, Milton Lewis, David Roder, Ian Calder

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    This survey included 1, 239 children, representing 50% of the elementary school population of the lead smelting town of Port Pirie. Of these children, 7% had a capillary blood lead level equals to or greater than 30 μg/dl, which is the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council's “level of concern.” There was a statistically significant difference in capillary lead levels by area of residence that was independent of age, sex, soil lead, rainwater tank lead, and school attended. A case-control study indicated that the following subset of factors was most predictive of an elevated blood lead level: (1) household members who worked with lead in their occupations; (2) living in a house with flaking paint on the outside walls; (3) biting finger nails; (4) eating lunch at home on school days; (5) when at school, appearing to have relatively dirty clothing; (6) when at school, appearing to have relatively dirty hands; and (7) living on a household block with a large area of exposed dirt. A program to reduce the risk of elevated blood lead levels in Port Pirie children has been introduced.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-250
    Number of pages6
    JournalArchives of Environmental Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1986

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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