Aviation fuel sniffing prompts warning in Australia

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Canberra, May 16 (IANS) Australian health officials on Tuesday warned of a “serious” incidence of children inhaling aviation fuel in the Northern Territory, the media reported.

Security camera footage showed children breaking into the remote Elcho Island Airport and siphoning fuel from planes, the BBC reported.

Petrol sniffing is not a new challenge to hit remote communities, but aviation fuel is even more dangerous because it contains lead, officials said.

Lead exposure can badly damage the brain and nervous system.

Health officials believe more than 100 youths – one as young as seven – have inhaled the fuel on Elcho Island and a nearby area since March 2016.

“Our kids are ending up in hospital by getting infected by chemicals, which is bad for them,” an Aboriginal elder told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Nine children and one adult have been taken to Darwin for treatment.

A senior health official said the situation was “serious and of concern”.

“Our local teams, as part of the community, are working tirelessly to support the families and prevent further incidents,” he told the BBC.

Exposure to lead can cause profound and permanent health damage, especially to young children, according to the World Health Organisation.

As well as damaging the brain and nervous system, lead also poses an increased risk of miscarriage, high blood pressure and kidney damage.



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