NHMRC urges miners to keep families safe from lead

Miners are being urged to take measures to protect their families from lead exposure by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Lead miners are being urged by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to ensure they take measures to protect their families from exposure to the potentially harmful material.

The NHMRC 2009 Blood Lead Levels for Australians public statement released last week provides guidelines on how to maintain safe blood lead levels.

The Government body said that all humans should have a blood lead level below 10 micrograms per every 100 mL, according to Australian and World Health Organisation standards.

According to NHMRC chief executive Professor Warwick Anderson, children are more sensitive to the health effects of lead exposure than adults, as they absorb more lead into their bloodstreams and retain more lead in their bodies.

“Childhood lead exposure is linked to developmental, emotional and behavioural problems,” he said.

“It is essential that children’s lead exposure be minimised in households where adults work with lead and in lead-exposed environments, near mines or smelters.”

The NHMRC recommends miners should shower at work, leave their personal items there and separate their lead-exposed clothes from the family washing loads.

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