Ongoing population‐level strategies are needed to further reduce lead exposure
The largest survey of blood lead levels in children in Australia outside high risk mining and smelting communities since the phasing out of leaded petrol was undertaken as part of the Barwon Infant Study in Victoria. As reported in this issue of the MJA,1 the investigators found that blood lead concentrations in children were considerably lower (geometric mean, 0.95 μg/dL) than those measured in the last major survey of Australian children, more than 25 years ago (geometric mean, 5.05 μg/dL).2 Blood lead levels have declined dramatically over the past 50 years,3,4 and Symeonides and colleagues have found that levels in children continue to fall. Nevertheless, they are still about 60 times higher than in pre‐industrial humans (0.016 μg/dL),5 and health agencies have declared that there is no safe level of lead for children.6,7
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.