Posts tagged lead

Photo: One-and-a-half-year-old Husseini and his twin brother are both on chelation therapy for lead poisoning. Nigeria 2012 © Olga Overbeek/MSF
Time Running Out for Nigeria Lead Poisoning Victims
The Nigerian government has failed to promptly release funds needed to remove lead from homes in a northern area of Nigeria, worsening a health crisis in which hundreds of children have fallen ill or died from lead poisoning since 2010. 
Funds to tackle an ongoing lead poisoning crisis in Zamfara District—with a specific focus on the remediation of Bagega village—were promised by the president in May 2012, but have still not been released by the secretary of the government of the federation. The remediation process removes lead from the environment. Without it, children are continually re-exposed to lead toxins, rendering medical treatment useless. MSF has been treating victims of lead poisoning in Zamfara district since it was discovered in 2010.
“Bagega is reaching a crisis point,” said Michael White, acting head of mission for Nigeria. “More than two and a half years after the lead poisoning disaster was first discovered, hundreds of children are still awaiting critical medical treatment. MSF is ready and willing to treat these children, but cannot do so until their homes have been environmentally remediated. It’s time to get the lead out of Bagega.”

Photo: One-and-a-half-year-old Husseini and his twin brother are both on chelation therapy for lead poisoning. Nigeria 2012 © Olga Overbeek/MSF


Time Running Out for Nigeria Lead Poisoning Victims

The Nigerian government has failed to promptly release funds needed to remove lead from homes in a northern area of Nigeria, worsening a health crisis in which hundreds of children have fallen ill or died from lead poisoning since 2010. 

Funds to tackle an ongoing lead poisoning crisis in Zamfara District—with a specific focus on the remediation of Bagega village—were promised by the president in May 2012, but have still not been released by the secretary of the government of the federation. The remediation process removes lead from the environment. Without it, children are continually re-exposed to lead toxins, rendering medical treatment useless. MSF has been treating victims of lead poisoning in Zamfara district since it was discovered in 2010.

“Bagega is reaching a crisis point,” said Michael White, acting head of mission for Nigeria. “More than two and a half years after the lead poisoning disaster was first discovered, hundreds of children are still awaiting critical medical treatment. MSF is ready and willing to treat these children, but cannot do so until their homes have been environmentally remediated. It’s time to get the lead out of Bagega.”

Photo: A young boy works at an illegal gold mine in Dareta, Nigeria. © David Gilkey/NPR

If you missed the Twitter chat last week with NPR’s Jason Beaubien & @MSF_USA on lead poisoning in #NigeriaGold, check out the highlights here.

Photo: A young boy works at an illegal gold mine in Dareta, Nigeria. © David Gilkey/NPR

If you missed the Twitter chat last week with NPR’s Jason Beaubien & @MSF_USA on lead poisoning in #NigeriaGold, check out the highlights here.

Lead Poisoning Crisis in Zamfara State, Northern Nigeria


In March 2010, MSF was alerted to a high number of child fatalities in Zamfara state, northern Nigeria—an estimated 400 children died. Laboratory testing later confirmed high levels of lead in the blood of the surviving children.

MSF is a central player in treating lead poisoning in Zamfara state, and is responding to the acute phase of this emergency. MSF has for the moment controlled mortality, but patients with lead poisoning will require significant long-term treatment and follow-up.The root cause of the lead poisoning crisis is unsafe mining and ore processing. People who engage in mining and ore processing must be given access to facilities and programs to allow them to safely mine and process ore without exposing themselves or others to toxic lead.

There are three pillars that must be implemented for an effective response to the crisis:

▲ Medical care including chelation therapy and health education
▲ Environmental remediation
▲ Safer mining practicesPhoto: A worker holds up a piece of mercury-gold amalgam at the Bagega processing site. The gold extraction process produces dangerous lead as a byproduct.
Nigeria 2012 © Olga Overbeek/MSF

Lead Poisoning Crisis in Zamfara State, Northern Nigeria

In March 2010, MSF was alerted to a high number of child fatalities in Zamfara state, northern Nigeria—an estimated 400 children died. Laboratory testing later confirmed high levels of lead in the blood of the surviving children.

MSF is a central player in treating lead poisoning in Zamfara state, and is responding to the acute phase of this emergency. MSF has for the moment controlled mortality, but patients with lead poisoning will require significant long-term treatment and follow-up.

The root cause of the lead poisoning crisis is unsafe mining and ore processing. People who engage in mining and ore processing must be given access to facilities and programs to allow them to safely mine and process ore without exposing themselves or others to toxic lead.

There are three pillars that must be implemented for an effective response to the crisis:

▲ Medical care including chelation therapy and health education
▲ Environmental remediation
▲ Safer mining practices

Photo: A worker holds up a piece of mercury-gold amalgam at the Bagega processing site. The gold extraction process produces dangerous lead as a byproduct.
Nigeria 2012 © Olga Overbeek/MSF

Nigeria Lead Poisoning Crisis—Now Is the Time for ActionNigerian Government Must Ensure Clean Up of Affected Area, Along With Necessary Medical Care and Safer Mining Practices


The Nigerian government must commit significant resources to respond to a lead poisoning epidemic in Zamfara State, which has sickened thousands of children since 2010, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF and other delegates at an international conference on the epidemic said today.

Decision-makers from the Nigerian government and the ministers of mines, environment, and health were not present at the International Lead Poisoning Conference, held May 9–10 in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. No concrete action by the Nigerian federal government was announced.

“There has been plenty of talk, but now is the time for action,” said Ivan Gayton, MSF country representative in Nigeria. “MSF will consider this conference to be a success when all of the poisoned children are living in a safe environment and receiving treatment.”Photo: A 10-year-old worker at the gold processing site in Bagega
Nigeria 2012 © Olga Overbeek/MSF

Nigeria Lead Poisoning Crisis—Now Is the Time for Action

Nigerian Government Must Ensure Clean Up of Affected Area, Along With Necessary Medical Care and Safer Mining Practices

The Nigerian government must commit significant resources to respond to a lead poisoning epidemic in Zamfara State, which has sickened thousands of children since 2010, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF and other delegates at an international conference on the epidemic said today.

Decision-makers from the Nigerian government and the ministers of mines, environment, and health were not present at the International Lead Poisoning Conference, held May 9–10 in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. No concrete action by the Nigerian federal government was announced.

There has been plenty of talk, but now is the time for action,” said Ivan Gayton, MSF country representative in Nigeria. “MSF will consider this conference to be a success when all of the poisoned children are living in a safe environment and receiving treatment.

Photo: A 10-year-old worker at the gold processing site in Bagega
Nigeria 2012 © Olga Overbeek/MSF