abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

26 Aug 2019

Human Rights Watch

Zambia: More than one third of the population of Kabwe, live in lead-contaminated townships; children most affected; HRW report

See all tags

“We Have to Be Worried”The Impact of Lead Contamination on Children’s Rights in Kabwe, Zambia, 23 August 2019

More than one third of the population of Kabwe, Zambia— over 76,000 people—live in lead-contaminated townships. Studies estimate that half of the children in these areas have elevated blood lead levels that warrant medical treatment.

… Twenty-five years after the mine closed, high lead levels, exceeding international standards, remain in the soil and dust around the former mine, particularly in the townships of Kasanda, Makandanyama, Chowa, Mutwe Wansofu, and Makululu in Kabwe. The former mine area itself still hosts tailings and other waste from the mine and smelter, including a large waste dump known locally as “Black Mountain,” and has become a site for artisanal and small-scale mining.

Children in Kabwe are especially at risk because they are more likely to ingest lead dust when playing in the soil, their brains and bodies are still developing, and they absorb four to five times as much lead as adults. The consequences for children who are exposed to high levels of lead and are not treated include reading and learning barriers or disabilities; behavioral problems; impaired growth; anemia; brain, liver, kidney, nerve, and stomach damage; coma and convulsions; and death. After prolonged exposure, the effects are irreversible. Lead also increases the risk of miscarriage and can be transmitted through both the placenta and breastmilk.

Part of the following timelines

Zambia: Lead poisoning having disastrous effects on children’s heath; HRW report

Class action lawsuit against Anglo American South Africa Ltd (re lead poisoning, Zambia)