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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Managing environmental lead in Broken Hill: a public health success Volume 19 Issue 9-10

Frances Boreland, Margaret S. Lesjak, David M. Lyle

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 19(10) 174–179 Published online: 21 November 2008

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Frances Boreland

Margaret S. Lesjak

David M. Lyle


Objectives: To describe locality-specific changes in blood lead levels of 1–4-year-old children in Broken Hill, NSW between 1991 and 2007. Methods: Annual age-sex standardised mean blood lead levels, blood lead screening clinic attendance rates and lead-dust levels for five lead-risk zones were calculated from routinely collected data. Results: Blood lead levels were similar in all localities in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006, after having been consistently higher in localities with highest environmental lead since 1991. Conclusions: Combining health promotion with a targeted clean-up has reduced the effect of locality on blood lead levels. Results are consistent with reduced contamination due to effective soil stabilisation and storm-water control.