Lead Poisoning--Eeep!

Remember all those dead birds that turned up mysteriously in Australia not too long ago? Turns out the culprit was lead poisoning. That's certainly not good news for the birds, and is very bad news for the resident of the town.

From ABC News Online:

Esperance MLA Graham Jacobs is calling for the town's port to halt its lead handling operations until the source of the lead, which is believed to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of birds, is found.

The Department of Environment has been investigating since birds began dying at the start of the year and announced late last week it was likely to be due to lead poisoning from the south-eastern Western Australian port's activities.

The department directed the port to increase its air monitoring, but Dr Jacobs, who is a medical doctor, says a more drastic measure must be taken for the safety of residents.

"I know that lead, we can't muck around with if you like, it's quite a serious heavy metal, if it is actually causing the death of the birds then we need to think about community and our children," he said.

The Esperance Port Authority says it will work with the Department of Environment and the local shire to determine the source of the lead.

Chief executive Colin Stewart says although the port has not been directly identified as the source, it will still conduct a major review of its operations.

He has also asked the lead exporter to review its operations.