There was a drop in lead levels for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children last year, according to the latest Lead Report by the Far West Local Health District.
Health Protection Manager, Ms Priscilla Stanley, said whilst there was a decrease in the total number of children screened overall, the proportion of children having lead levels below 5 ug/dL slightly increased.
Significant outcomes in the 2018 annual lead health report were:
- 637 children were screened (a decrease of 13% from 2017) The geometric lead mean level (age-sex standardized) for all children (1 to < 5 years) decreased slightly from 5.7 ug/dL in 2017 to 4.7 ug/dL in 2018.
- The mean result for Aboriginal children decreased from 8.7 in 2017 to 7.9 ug/dL in 2018.
- The non-Aboriginal children mean result decreased from 4.6 in 2017 to 4.0 ug/dL in 2018.
The temporary closure and move of the Child and Family Health Centre to new premises in June 2018 and later in the year staff vacancies, resulted in fewer clinics and will have contributed to the decreased number of non-Aboriginal children tested.
The 2018 Lead Report highlights the need for ongoing work to reduce blood levels for children, particularly those with an Aboriginal background. Maintaining the child blood lead monitoring program is an important public health initiative in Broken Hill.
The release of the 2018 Lead Report is a timely reminder to parents and carers that all children should continue to be tested annually until they are 5 years old.
Blood lead testing is free and available at the BH Community Health Centre (2-4 Sulphide Street) and Maari Ma Primary Health. The Community Health Centre can be contacted on 8080 1100 and Maari Ma Primary Health on 8082 9777.
NSW Health provides a range of resources including factsheets, response protocols and DIY sources to address elevated blood lead levels at www.health.nsw.gov.au.
The Far West Local Health District Lead Report 2018 – Broken Hill Children less than 5 years old is available at www.fwlhd.health.nsw.gov.au