Health Kids from Northern Territory have highest blood lead levels...

Kids from Northern Territory have highest blood lead levels in developed world


CANBERRA — The Northern Territory (NT) government said recently that local children have the highest blood lead levels of any children in the developed world, in what has been dubbed a “public health emergency” for some rural towns.

The NT’s Centre for Disease Control conducted a number of tests among disadvantaged children thought to have been sniffing fuel, and of the 178 tested, 154 returned positive results for elevated levels of lead in the blood.

The Centre’s acting director, Charles Douglas said the levels were not only higher than expected, but they were the highest in the developed world, with the highest level found to be 17 times the acceptable rate, while the average test returned blood lead levels six times the average.

Douglas said the “public health emergency” was due to a recent change in the formula of aviation fuel. Previously, the fuel, known as “avgas,” was deemed unsniffable, but when the formula changed making it sniffable, it slipped “under the radar” of local authorities.

“The formulation has changed, and it’s now classified as a sniffable substance. It kind of snuck under the radar,” Douglas told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“It’s a serious issue because the levels are high and, particularly in children, the effects are long-term and some of them are irreversible.”

Douglas said the effects of sniffing avgas were similar to that of a “nasty poison,” and could lead to serious liver and kidney damage, behavioural disorders and, in some cases, death.

In remote parts of the Northern Territory, fuel sniffing has reached crisis point levels in April, CCTV footage showed addicted youths breaking into airfields, syphoning avgas out of the wings of light planes to sniff. (Xinhua)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

What is Dalgona coffee? The whipped coffee trend taking over the internet during coronavirus isolation

By Katherine Kirkwood, Queensland University of Technology If you’ve scrolled through Instagram, TikTok or...

COVIDSafe tracking app reviewed: the government delivers on data security, but other issues remain

By Mahmoud Elkhodr, CQUniversity Australia Over three million people had downloaded the federal government’s...

Virgin Australia was never going to last

By Warren Staples, RMIT University; Andrew Linden, RMIT University, and Mariano L.M. Heyden, Monash University

Donald Trump blames everyone but himself for the coronavirus crisis. Will voters agree?

By David Smith, University of Sydney In absolute numbers, the United States is suffering...

Without international students, Australia’s universities will downsize – and some might collapse altogether

By James Doughney, Victoria University The loss of international students due to COVID-19 restrictions,...

Running out of things to do in isolation?

By Anthea Batsakis, The Conversation Right now, the best thing we can do to...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you