Trail blood lead in children remains constant, new projects planned for further reduction

Trail Champion
By Trail Champion
November 8th, 2012

Blood lead levels for children in Trail and Rivervale are holding steady and there are plans to reduce them even further, according to a press release by The Trail Health & Environment Committee (THEC).

“The THEC presented results of the 2012 children’s blood lead testing clinic at its regular meeting Tuesday night,” the release said. “The average blood lead level for children aged six to 36 months in Trail and Rivervale is 5.4 μg/dL (micrograms per deciliter) with 84 per cent of children testing below 10 μg/dL. These results are similar to last year. THEC’s 2015 goal is to have 95 per cent of children below 10 μg/dL and an average level of 4 μg/dL.”

This is not only similar to last year, but furthers a decade-long trend.

“There is no significant change in the 2012 results compared with 2011”, said Dr. Andrew Larder, senior medical health officer with Interior Health. “Children’s blood lead levels in Trail have stayed roughly the same for the last 10 years. We see some variation from year to year due to the small number of children tested and other factors such as summer weather.”

Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs, chair of THEC, said, “For the past few months we’ve been working on some changes to our program that we think will make a difference. We intend to work more closely with families and increase our focus on reducing children’s lead exposure before they are tested. I would like to encourage families to take full advantage of the programs offered.

“We are also glad to see that Teck will address fugitive dust emissions in a significant way,” Bogs added.

 Teck spokesman Richard Deane confirmed that Teck will invest approximately $2 million in 2013 to construct a building to enclose a materials mixing and storage area at the north end of the plant.

“We’re committed to working with the community to continue reducing lead levels. The work we’ve done so far has cut stack lead emissions by 99.5 per cent since the 1990s, and this new project will build on that work by reducing dust on the Teck site,” he said.

Jeannine Stefani, Public Health Nurse with Interior Health concluded the press release by calling for continued diligence.

“Blood lead levels have reduced dramatically over the past 20 years but we can’t be complacent. We continue to find children with blood lead levels above the typical range. We hope that all Trail area families with pre‐school children will participate in next year’s testing.”

For more information, visit the committee’s website at www.thep.ca