Mount Isa has the most intensive air quality monitoring system of any city in Australia.
The Air Quality Control system, first introduced in 1975, is a comprehensive monitoring system that incorporates 15 monitoring stations throughout Mount Isa to monitor ambient air quality levels, which are in turn used to direct operations at our copper and lead smelters and Incitec Pivot’s acid plant.
The ambient air monitoring stations throughout the city include:
- 10 sulphur dioxide real-time monitoring stations located in the community to ensure that the smelters operate within accepted regulatory limits; and
- Five high-volume dust samplers located throughout the community to monitor levels of heavy metals.
In addition to the AQC, in 2009 DEHP also installed an Ambient Metals Monitor in Mount Isa that provides real-time information on the level of metals in air.
Where a child has a blood lead level of 5 micrograms/litre blood or more Queensland Health may sample and analyse soil, dust and paint flakes from the house and yard where the child resides or visits for lead and other heavy metals. Results and advice will then be provided.
There has been a significant increase world-wide awareness and concern about the possible effects of lead on human health and the environment. Lead is readily transferred from the mother to the developing unborn child. Therefore the mother’s exposure to lead may affect the unborn child. Lead does most damage during periods of rapid growth which means that lead is most harmful during pregnancy and in the first years of life.
The blood lead level of an unborn child will be similar to the mother’s. To ensure your unborn child’s exposure is minimal, it is important to keep your blood lead level as low as possible.
To reduce the absorption of lead from the stomach into the blood stream, children need frequent, healthy meals and snacks. A full stomach, and a diet rich in calcium, iron, protein, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium can help protect children against high blood lead levels. It is also important to eliminate the source of lead contamination by following the ‘wet, wipe and wash’ instructions. This means using good cleaning and hygiene practices in your home.
Other ways of reducing your blood lead level is to avoid exposure to the following:
- House, ceiling and vacuum cleaner dust
- Dirt and dust from landscaping or bare garden soil
- Dust from home renovations, sweeping and dusting
- Dust or fumes from paint removal
- Dust from work clothes, shoes or vehicles.
For further information on preventing and reducing blood lead levels contact the Living with Lead Alliance on 1800 457 547