Refined lead vs. natural galena

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It was pure coincidence that I happen to re-read the Ron Roizen article on the Flint Michigan Lead scare (January 23, 2019 issue) Just after reading the reply to my letter to the editor last month.

Ron is top-notch Phd who is meticulous with his research. I doubt I would ever find reason to challenge either his methods or conclusions. I could not even come close to saying that about either the EPA or the CDC!

I suspect that both agencies have lumped together the very different effects of refined lead and galena in its natural state and attempted to pass off the results as being toxic in the entirety. I think of that as being as close to junk science as you can get!

A perfect example to help understand the difference between those two extremes is to review the effects to the human body from carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Same elements, just in a different combination.

It takes only one deep breath of air containing 1% carbon monoxide to kill an average size adult!

On the other hand, the same size person can breathe an atmosphere of 1% carbon dioxide for days on end with no ill effects. In fact, that is the acceptable threshold for the space program! Astronauts breathed 1% carbon dioxide all the way to the moon and back! Itís no wonder that Dirk Kempthorn, as Governor, commented that he was disgusted with the EPA he was considering asking them to leave the state of Idaho.

Ron Roisen quoted some very interesting statistics on the flint Michigan situation.

For the record, though, I should mention that the source of the lead mentioned was the harmful combination. Even so, the graph provided in Ronís article shows that one percent of kids under the age of six had blood level reading of 10 or higher! Ron compared that with CDCís threshold of 45 or higher before treatment is recommended!

Not a single child tested in flint had readings that high. After years of of mining my blood level tested out at 3.5!

To put that into perspective, let me clarify how much lead dust I breathed on a daily basis. I normally worked in the wider workplace, usually eight to twelve feet wide. A typical blast provides roughly 500 to 750 cubic feet of Galena and waste rock. The water hose provided to wet down that much muck was ? inch diameter. Compare that with a typical garden hose at ? .

It was next to impossible to soak that much muck and still have enough time to install ground support and drill out for the next blast in a single 8-hour shift! The result, breathing a lot of galena dust!

But I should also relay a true story about lead testing priories. Itís been at least a dozen years since I signed a form to grant permission to have one of my properties tested. However, I added the requirement that the result had to be reported in a manner that clarified how much of each test was lead oxide versus lead sulphide. I was told that they would not do that. At the time, there were no small children on the property, so the testing didnít take place.

A couple years or so later, when there were small children on the property, I was again approached about the testing. The person had a copy of the same form I had signed previously. I recognized the hand-written stipulation, written in all capital letters from several feet away. I inquired if they planned to honor that requirement. The answer was still no. As a result, the property still hasnít been tested! Makes me wonder if their testing ďmodelĒ was more important than those kids.

In closing, let me return to the Professors quoted by Ron Roisen in his article. One taught medical toxicology at the Hurley Medical Center, and the other taught environment health at the Cincinnati College of Medicine! I think I should trust their conclusions!

John Amonson,


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