Lack of Medical Attention

The government response to confirmed lead exposure has been inadequate. In 2000, a nongovernmental organization, the Karen Studies and Development Center, and later the Ministry of Public Health, arranged treatment for lead poisoning (i.e. chelation therapy) for some individuals with particularly elevated blood-lead levels. Experts recommend chelation therapy when a child is found with a test result of greater than or equal to 45 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood, but not lower because at lower levels chelation is ineffective.[18]

Not all individuals tested by provincial and district public health authorities received the results of their blood tests, however, and there was no medical care following up from test results when they were communicated to individuals.[19] For these reasons, some villagers refused to participate in blood tests. Many villagers told Human Rights Watch that public health authorities stopped performing blood tests for lead in the village in 2007-2008.[20]

Among individuals who did receive their test results, some were told that they or their family members were safe if the results were less than 25 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood for children, or 40 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood for adults.[21] This standard appeared on some of the result forms handed out to Lower Klity Creek residents.[22]