The following poem is based on this news article about lead levels in Mount Isa children and a community service ‘living with lead’ advert from the lead alliance.
It is clear lead is a health risk, especially for small children and babies, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Mount Isa mines zinc, lead, copper and silver. It is a primarily live-in mining community. There is a lot of pressure on women to maintain perfect homes, with wet mopping a constant chore. This means new houses, with smooth kitchen tops and tile floors. Miners earn well, and spend well. Miners wives and families, and those who operate the lucrative local businesses servicing miners, are the clear target for ‘living with lead’. The less well off, are…collateral?
Child of mines, of lead and silver
Living with constant threat
Child of mines keep out of the dirt
Or toxic cocktail you’ll get
A town that digs, with dirt smeared money
A town of tough and heat
A town of contradictions
The ultra-clean wife feat
The simple test, a finger prick
Reveals lead levels too high
A child at risk, a mother despairs
She sounds the battle cry!
But despite the clear facts on show
There are those who would deny
Any risk at all to anyone
With a cognitive dissonant sigh.
When your wealth depends on mining jobs
You can’t acknowledge this risk
So when it looks you in the face
All you do is tsk.
Risks played down and fault transfered
Your home was too unclean
Your domestic skill must be to blame
Not the facts we made hard to glean.