About the Port Pirie Environmental Health Centre
The Port Pirie Environmental Health Centre was established in March 1984, as part of the South Australian Government's Port Pirie Lead Implementation Program to help reduce the amount of lead that children were absorbing from their contaminated environment.
The Centre was established by the State Government in response to a history of environmental lead contamination which had accompanied the 100 years of smelting in Port Pirie. The resultant lead accumulation exposed a high proportion of children in Port Pirie to an unacceptable level of lead in their environment. The primary objective of the Port Pirie Lead Implementation Program was to protect children from the harmful effects of lead in their environment. The Port Pirie Environmental Health Centre (EHC) is responsible for the delivery of the Lead Implementation Program.
The program is designed to assist the local community in achieving an acceptable balance which safeguards the health of local residents, ensures the ongoing viability of the world’s largest lead smelter and promotes the sustainability of the City of Port Pirie.
The major focus of the program is to reduce household exposure for pregnant women and children below the age of five years. The Centre investigates the ongoing pathways of lead exposure, provides community education on minimising exposure and monitors exposure by providing free routine blood lead testing for pregnant women and young children.
In July 1994, a new ten-year program commenced with a focus on children up to the age of 5 years. The new program has placed a greater emphasis on research and investigations into the continuing sources of lead available to young children.
Since the Program first commenced in 1984, there have been successive reductions in the national guidelines relating to blood lead levels. The current National Health & Medical Research Council's goal seeks to achieve for all Australians, a blood lead level below 10µg/dl. The South Australian State Government endorsed a range of strategies in order to address this new goal.
These strategies focus on equipping the Port Pirie community to live in an environment that has an active smelter, through education, and by assisting parents, via a range of strategies, to reduce their children's exposure to lead sources. In addition, dust suppression work, and extensive investigations of sources and pathways of lead, are currently being carried out through the cooperation of all involved.
Related links within this site
Links to other sites
North Lake Macquarie Health Centre (lead, remediation)
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