How to reduce lead poisoning amongst 40,000 pre-school children in Shymkent, Kazakhstan

Figure 1

The article ‘A Poisonous Legacy’ in The Chemical Engineer details the case of the city of Shymkent in Southern Kazakhstan with its still operating lead smelter, where an estimated 40,000 pre-school children are poisoned with lead and other heavy metals. Remediation has been proposed by the International Task Force for Children’s Environmental Health (ITFCEH).

In Table 1 of the article, Shymkent stood out as a severe problem in terms of lead and arsenic content in soil (49-24,896 mg/kg of lead found in soil). Page 3 of the article also details the effects of lead and other heavy metals; see Figure 1 to the right for ‘Paediatric Effects of Lead at Various Blood Lead Levels’. The proposal for remediation can also be found on page 3 and details reduction of concentration (soil mixing) and removing soil from contact (disposal in safe location).

We hope that you’ll find this information useful and assist with your lead abatement procedures. Additionally, this serves as a reminder for OECD countries that international companies working overseas should pay special attention to following the legislation of the country of origin and country of operation. It is commonly written in these legislations that companies must pay attention to the impact of their operations on the community and the environment.