More than 7,500 children and young people have been called for examination in 5 municipalities of the Pas-de-Calais

Ten years after the latest mass screening campaign for lead poisoning, the province of Pas-de-Calais has announced that it is relaunching the operation in the neighboring municipalities of Metaleurop. A decision that comes after what journalist Martin Baudot revealed, regarding the persistence of lead contamination, twenty years after the closure of the foundry.

After provoking elected officials, citizens and associations, the province of Pas-de-Calais decided to respond. A new mass lead poisoning detection campaign has been launched since June 20, ten years after the last such operation. A decision that followed the investigation by Martin Baudot, journalist for the investigative program Vert de Rage (France 5) and director of a documentary film dedicated to the consequences of lead contamination from the Metaleurop smelter, twenty years after its closure. The results of this work have been presented to the public Evin-Malmaison Village Hall, on April 29th.

“To respond to the concern recently expressed by a part of the population of the territory, a mass screening campaign was conducted It is offered to children and young people under the age of 18, He referred to Governor Louis Lefranc, in a press release. Five municipalities are affected by this system: Evin-Malmaison, Courcelles-lès-Lens, Noyelles-Godault, Leforest and Dourges. The first three are located within the PIG (Project Public Interest) area, to identify the most polluted places. The other two were added, at the mayors’ request, by The precautionary principle As explained by Christian Musical, of LeForest.

This is how the Regional Health Agency (ARS) sent, on Monday 20 June, 7 600 messages to families concerned with these shows, which should start in the coming days. A large-scale campaign is long overdue, while the most recent dates back to 2012. “We have to see if there is even today, in this ocean, lead contamination in children and adults, and if the contamination continues to spread, pointed Christoph Bilch, Head of Urban Community at Hénin-Carvin. It is the job of elected officials to raise awareness among the population so that they get tested, so that we can verify whether or not there really is a health problem.

Pas-de-Calais, in its press release, would like to recall this “Several examination and information procedures have been carried out since the end of the 1990s, in order to measure and reduce the impact of this pollution on the health of the population.” Eight mass campaigns were organized before 2012, within the three main municipalities: Evin-Malmaison, Courcelles-lès-Lens and Noyelles-Godault. Over the years, health authorities have noticed a “big drop”, Especially since 2007, levels of lead poisoning. “During the past 10 years, only one declaration of lead poisoning has been recorded in the respective municipalities,” county progress.

Lewis explains to Frank the lack of systematic examination in the past decade as follows: “Due to the reduced participation in structured examinations and this apparent reduction in vaccinations, mass screenings have been replaced by examinations that can be prescribed individually by any physician in the sector.”

population “They will soon receive a letter from their health insurance inviting them to go with their child to the laboratory of their choice for a blood test, or to call a nurse to take the sample at home.”, defines the province of Pas-de-Calais. This examination is fully covered by health insurance. The result of this test will also be sent to the attending physician.

Lead in schools, playgrounds, playgrounds and even parks… Twenty years after Metaleurop closed in 2003, environmental pollution appears to be continuing, as evidenced by the investigation by director Martin Boudot, which aired at the beginning of the following school year. In his documentary, the journalist and his team took samples from several places, and the results were alarming. For example, they measured Rates 3.6 to 5.7 times higher than regulations in vegetable gardens in Evin-Malmaison. Standards are also higher than usual in facilities that welcome children, such as the Françoise Dolto school or the Gerard Hoiler Stadium.

So Sampling and Measurement Program It will be created by the Agency for Environmental Transformation (ADEME). This will target three areas, such as the Vert de Rage survey. First, the schools or nurseries located within the perimeter of the PIG. Then, the floors near the sports areas of the Gérard Houiller Stadium in Evin-Malmaison. Finally, a plot of land benefited from having its land exchanged for ADEME as part of a development by an individual. Similar tests were also ordered from the platform operator installed at the former Metaleurop site. Conservation adds.

What shape will these soil measurements take? “Two samples will be taken, one relating to the first 5 centimeters of soil depth, the traditionally targeted layer to distinguish exposure by direct contact, and the other relating to the first 25 centimeters of depth,” The governor details in his press release.

In parallel with these controls implemented by the state, and prior to the governor’s announcement, the Hénin Carvin conglomerate also undertook to conduct soil samples to assess pollution rates. “We are in the process of assigning professionals to do this,” Tell Christoph Bilch, President of the Municipal Community.

For several years, many local actors, associations, or elected officials referred to the state’s action, or rather its inaction. in 2018, The Page Association (for the public interest of Ivinoy), made up of 87 residents of the town of Even-Malmaison, filed a complaint for compensation “Ecological damage” And the “anguish”. The urban community of Hénin-Carvin followed suit a few months later, with a new complaint against the state.

“If the ruler moves, all the better, Bruno Adolf, President of Page replied. It is indeed an acknowledgment of all the actions carried out by the Association for an x ​​period of time.” In addition to this satisfaction, the latter plans for himself in the aftermath. What if all the samples confirmed the disturbing data from journalist Martin Baudot’s investigation? “I have no doubts about the results of these samples, Progressing. We will once again ask the state to strip all contaminated land.” That is approximately 700 hectares around the site of the former Metaleurop.

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