Toxic Truth: Renewed hope for lead compo

A LEADING compensation and social justice law firm is investigating whether it can help Boolaroo property owners with legal action.

Brisbane-based principal of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers Damian Scattini told the Newcastle Herald his firm was investigating the residents’ case against Pasminco, through its administrators, Ferrier Hodgson.

‘‘This includes looking at the impacts for property owners who may be at a disadvantage as a result of current lead abatement strategies in place for properties within the community,’’ he said.

Mr Scattini launched a class action against Glencore Xstrata’s Mount Isa mine in Queensland over lead poisoning and is also researching the possibility of a similar suit against Nyrstar in Port Pirie, South Australia.

He said the potential risks associated with lead exposure were often understated.

‘‘Companies and organisations seeking to operate lead smelters within communities have a responsibility to ensure the community involved is not put at any unnecessary risk, both during the operation of an active smelter as well as after a smelter has been closed. This responsibility particularly applies in ensuring home owners and businesses are not adversely impacted from a health perspective and also from a commercial perspective,’’ Mr Scattini said.

A spokesperson for Minister for the Environment Rob Stokes said he was also keeping an eye on the case.

The EPA has  met with Professor Mark Patrick Taylor to discuss Macquarie University and the Herald’s investigation into the level of lead present in soil and dust in Boolaroo and its surrounds.

‘‘Our office has been in contact with the local member [Greg Piper] on a number of occasions and the Minister has indicated he would visit the community,’’ the spokesperson said.

Residents can contact Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on 1800619952.

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