Further reduction in blood lead levels around the Umicore site in Hoboken
The Provincial Institute for Hygiene (PIH) today published the results of the spring campaign to measure the lead content in children’s blood in the area around Umicore's Hoboken site.
The average lead levels of the children in the Moretusburg and Hertogvelden districts have fallen further to 3.42 micrograms per deciliter (compared with 4.12 in autumn 2020).
Not only has the average level fallen, but so has the number of children with a blood lead level above 5 micrograms per deciliter. This figure has dropped to 18.8% (compared with 26.3% in autumn 2020). The number of children with a lead level above 10 micrograms per deciliter has halved from 10 to 5. Not a single child had a lead level above 20 micrograms per deciliter. The zone immediately adjacent to the site remains the most vulnerable area, as 41.5% of the children here have a blood lead level above 5 micrograms/dl. This underlines the importance of establishing a green zone.
The levels continue to fall across the board and the downward trend of the past few years has been resumed.
We are carrying on unabated with our comprehensive action plan to ensure ongoing improvement. Since last year, we have been adapting our logistics activities in line with the weather conditions. We postpone activities that may release particles on days when wind speeds are higher. We are spraying and cleaning even more intensively and we use state-of-the-art technology to monitor and adjust our emissions. Investments that further reduce our emissions are given priority over other projects so as to limit our impact on the environment and the neighborhood even more.
Johan Ramharter (Senior Vice President): “I am delighted to see a return of the positive results recorded prior to 2020. At the same time, these results incentivize us to continue our efforts to limit particle dispersion. As a respectful neighbor, we aim to keep the company’s impact on the surrounding districts to a minimum.”