Nineteen years later, a detection campaign for lead poisoning among young people welcomed near Metaleurop

Long-term contamination. Nearly two decades after the closure of the Metaleurop foundry, in Noyelles-Godault, in Pas-de-Calais, the health of the neighbors of the former industrial site is still worrying. A new detection campaign for lead poisoning, a disease linked to lead poisoning, has been sent by the authorities for those under 18 years of age.

It is a vast perimeter that is concerned by this campaign, which began on June 15th. It includes not only the town where the factory was installed, Noyelles-Godault, but also the towns of Evin-Malmaison, Courcelles-lès-Lens, Leforest and Dourges. The people targeted are children and young people under the age of 18. Their parents have abandoned, in the coming days, a letter from Health Insurance inviting them “to go with their child to the laboratory of their choice to take a blood test”, details the prefecture of the department.

5,800 children with lead poisoning between 1962 and 2020

This initiative comes in response to “the concern recently revealed by part of the population of the territory”, recognizes the prefecture, specifying however that the offer of individual screening was still in force. This “concern”, so long after the closure of the site, took shape after the broadcast, at the end of April, of an investigation by the France 5 program, Vert de rage, which revealed “the environmental drama” revealed by the presence of “lead everywhere” in the town of Evin-Malmaison. Proven investigation of this metal had been found in many places at rates 3.6 to 5.7 times higher than the “evacuation rate”. Coup de grace: the documentary puts forward the figure of more than 5,800 children suffering from lead poisoning between 1962 and 2020 for the municipalities of Evin-Malmaison, Courcelles-lès-Lens and Noyelles-Godault alone.

For their part, the authorities affirm that “during the last 10 years, only one declaration of lead poisoning has been recorded in the municipalities concerned”. The prefecture and the Regional Health Agency (ARS) have argued that a “dozen individual screenings” carried out in Evin-Malmaison only showed one case where the lead level “is less than 14 μg / l” while the others “are less than 10 μg/l”. According to Public Health France, “the vigilance threshold is 25 μg/l” and lead poisoning “is established above 50 μg/l”.

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