The adverse health effects of lead are well known. It is a naturally occurring toxic metal found in the Earth’s crust. Lead’s widespread use has resulted in extensive environmental contamination, human exposure and significant public health problems in many parts of the world. For our safety it has been taken out of paint and petrol in Australia.
The World Health Organisation states key facts on lead poisoning and health:
- ‘Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.
- Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time.
- Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood.
- Lead in bone is released into blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing foetus.
- There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects.
- Lead exposure is preventable.’ (Remember this point!)
That’s a very sobering list. It is scary that inhaling lead particles or ingesting lead contaminated dust, is a real future potential risk for residents of Lue and surrounds including Mudgee.
Lead, silver and zinc occur together geologically. You mine one, you get the trifecta. That is the situation at the proposed Bowdens Silver Project at Lue. The expected output of all three minerals has been calculated and stated in the company’s EIS.
Bowdens expected total production
SILVER 1,880 tonnes 1%
ZINC 130,000 tonnes 57%
LEAD 98,000 tonnes 42%
Source: Bowdens Silver Project Environmental Impact Statement: p. xviii
Lead will comprise almost 50% of their total expected production from their open-cut mining operations.
Is this project worth the risk?
The World Health Organisation continues…’young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system. Lead also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight.’
Remember that lead exposure is preventable!
The easiest way to do that, is prevent the Bowdens mine proposal that is 2kms from Lue village and school.
Find out how: Lue Action Group http://lueactiongroup.org/