Blood lead levels in children in Mount Isa are substantially elevated, and a purported lack of knowledge of the lead source is no longer tenable
Environmental lead levels and blood lead concentrations in children at Mount Isa, in north-western Queensland, are substantially elevated compared with background values1-3 and, as a consequence, there is a public health risk. This problem is exacerbated by the reluctance of stakeholders, including Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Ltd, operator of Mount Isa Mines (MIM), and Queensland environmental and health authorities to acknowledge and respond effectively to the fact that the main environmental lead source is mining and smelting activity.1,2 It is frequently claimed that the lead source is natural surface mineralisation;4-6 this is not the case.
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