ABC News is reporting today that the NT Health Department says the cause of elevated levels of lead in children in the NT is still unknown –  more than a year after it was first identified.

30 children from Palumpa, Peppimenarti and Emu Point were found with elevated lead levels last year after Paediatricians in the area first raised the alarm after a series of children presented with symptoms typical of lead exposure.

Steven Skov from the Health Department refused to discuss how much lead was detected in the children a year ago, but did tell ABC news that some children had levels somewhere above 10 micrograms per decilitre – double the nationally recognised five microgram acceptable limit.

“There were a couple of children seen by paediatricians because of behavioural issues, then as a result of clinic investigation a couple were found to have elevated levels of lead,” he said.  “There’s been quite a reasonable number of children across a couple of communities and an outstation area [with lead levels in their blood],” he said.

Recommendations by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council state that all Australians should have a blood lead level below 10 micrograms per decilitre and children’s exposure to lead should be minimised.

Children are understood to be more sensitive to the health effects of lead as they absorb more lead into their bloodstream more readily.  Lead is not required for human health and even small amounts can be toxic when ingested or inhaled.

  • They need to sort this out as it will have long term implications for the communities.


  • Our world is so toxic – scary stuff for the parents


  • Is there any mining or refineries in the region at all?
    Do these children chew their pencils ?


  • yah wow that is really astounding! i bet those parents are terrified! obviously they are just living normally and their kids are affected! they don’t even know what to do to fix that.


  • This is a little bit scary. I hope they find some answers soon.


  • Lke gs


  • My goodness. I hope they find the answer fast


  • I hope they find where it’s coming from soon and that none of the affected kids get any worse :(


  • Oh! This is really alarming. I hope they are doing all they can to find out how this happened!


  • I hope they get to the bottom of this. This is soo scary.


  • I hope they find the cause soon. Just because the locations are remote, that is no excuse for this delay – it can’t be that hard to find the cause!


  • I can’t believe that they have not been able to identify a source or contributing factors about the lead levels in these children. How scary for the families concerned. I hope they get some results and help soon


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