The Mines and Communities website ( has published a collection of articles about lead and the dangers posed by its mining, processing, transportation and use.
“As lead is all around us, it is in us, too”

So remarked Christian Warren in “Brush with Death, A Social History of Lead Poisoning”(Johns Hopkins University Press, USA, 2000).
The poisoning starts with the mining, as demonstrated at Yanacancha in Peru and by Xstrata’s operations in Australia. Then there are the health impacts of refining and smelting, a glaring example of which is Doe Run’s notorious factory at La Oroya, Peru.
When being transported, lead’s toxicity may result in further damage to human health. After reaching a manufacturing plant, its effects can become even more pernicious, and persist for well over a hundred years. That’s the current situation in Omaha , in Indiana and in Canada’s capital city.
And, when consumers don’t want it, the noxious metal may be dumped on unsuspecting communities in the developing world.
Suffer the children

Lead in almost all its forms is a potential killer of children. Many readers will be outraged by the recent account of the blighting of young lives from an abandoned mine in Kosovo. Here, World Health Organization tests showed that 90% of the children had lead-blood levels higher than its medical equipment could accurately measure.
Less obvious, but potentially affecting thousands – if not millions – of youngsters in Asia, Africa and Latin America, is lead included in paints on toys, playgrounds and in numerous households. And yet, there’s no economic or technical justification for continuing to do so.
Why not ban lead mining? Ask China, Australia, the US and Peru!

Arguably, there’s only one manufactured product that’s intrinsically dependent on continued use of lead. According to the US Geological Survey (January 2009) the majority of it now goes into lead-zinc batteries. But, even were these considered absolutely essential ( a moot point), their lead requirements could doubtless be met by much more effective recycling of scrap
China is by far the biggest producer and consumer of lead, having extracted 1,520 thousands of tonnes in 2008. Next comes Australia (at 576,000 tonnes) followed by the United States (440,000 tonnes) and then Peru (at 335,000 tonnes).
Between them, these countries actually boosted the amount of primary lead mined globally last year, bringing around US$1.23 billion in gross proceeds to mining companies.
What value have such profits, when set against the lives of even a handful of children – let alone millions of them?