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Antimony report says harm unlikely

A Health Department senior medical advisor has said elevated antimony levels in soil, water and household tanks around Costerfield are beneath World Health Organisation lifetime exposure limit.

BARBARA SUNGAILA July 3, 2014 3:20am

A report commissioned by the Victorian Government has found raised levels of antimony around Costerfield, but said it was unlikely to result in adverse health effects.

The rapid health assessment, the Golder report, found elevated levels of antimony in soil and water in household rainwater tanks in Costerfield.

Health Department senior medical advisor Danny Csutoros said the report estimated the daily intake levels for residents from air, soil and tank water based on the levels of antimony found.

‘‘The results show the amount of antimony from all sources of exposure is well below the safe limit for lifetime exposure set by the World Health Organisation,’’ Dr Csutoros said.

‘‘No long or short-term health effects are likely as long as these limits are not exceeded over a lifetime.

‘‘Residents are being supported by the mine and government in taking steps to reduce their exposure and overall daily intake of antimony to minimise the potential for any long-term health effects.’’

‘‘Low levels of antimony are not dangerous, but exposure above the recommended WHO daily intake guidelines over extended periods should be avoided.

‘‘All households where testing occurred have been contacted and offered a visit to discuss the results of testing at their properties and the findings of the full report.

‘‘Advice will be available on how to reduce antimony exposure for households and how to access additional support and information.’’

The report found nine properties had daily intake levels that were higher than tolerable for small children, but noted that no children were currently living at those locations.

‘‘Once exposure suppression measures are in place antimony levels will be significantly reduced and any risk to children will be minimal,’’ it said.

To read the full report and for more information visit www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/costerfield

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