Child of Mines

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.


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