Thursday, March 22, 2007

Esperance ‘silent summer’ latest

It appears to be official: Lead poisoning from dust at the Esperance port facility was almost certainly the cause of thousands of bird deaths in the area.

Consequently the Esperance Port Authority has “banned any further shipments of fine lead concentrate through the port.”

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan told Parliament that while a direct link to lead poisoning in the birds was yet to be uncovered, it was reasonable to assume that lead exports through the port was the likely source of contamination. ...

“No further shipments will proceed until such time as the source of the environmental contamination has been identified and proper processes put in place to ensure that such events do not occur again,” she said.

Public health authorities are apparently coping with strong demand from local residents for “free blood tests”, with particular concern for children under 5 and pregnant women.

Health Minister Jim McGinty told Parliament that 128 people blood tested so far all had lead readings below the recommended levels.

Sixty-two of 84 port workers tested had also come in at under the guidelines of 10 micrograms per decilitre.

Um ... how about the other 22 of those port workers...?? Well, Reuters Canada reports that

Western Australia Department of Health director Jim Dodds said 84 port workers tested last week returned lead levels well below recommended guidelines of 50 micrograms per deciliter.

“In fact, 75 percent of these workers had levels below 10 micrograms per deciliter, which is very pleasing,” Dodds said in a statement.

Previously on this topic
Esperance ‘silent summer’ update
Clue to ‘silent summer’ in Esperance


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