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WA positive blood level samples ease worrying health concerns

03 April, 2007

The Department of Health has been encouraged by the results of almost 100 blood samples taken from Esperance residents, which reveal lead levels well below the recommended guidelines.

Director of Environmental Health, Jim Dodds, said 84 port workers tested last week had levels well below the current WA occupational health and safety guidelines of 50 micrograms per decilitre.

“This is also below the proposed new occupational goal of the Esperance Port which is 35 micrograms per decilitre,” he said.

“In fact 75 per cent of these workers had levels below 10 micrograms per decilitre, which is very pleasing.

“In addition, the 13 community members voluntarily tested last week have also come back well under World Health Organisation guidelines (for the community) of 10 micrograms per decilitre.”

Dodds said while the investigation was only in its early stages, the results confirmed the view that while it was apparent that lead had found its way into the bird population, the Department of Health had not seen evidence that human health had been affected.

“However, we acknowledge community concern and the Department is running a lead testing clinic at the Esperance Hospital to take blood tests and provide health information for concerned members of the community,” he said. 

“This is in addition to the normal blood testing service offered by the Esperance Hospital.

“In particular, we advise all pregnant women and children under five years to seek testing as they are most at risk from lead exposure.”

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