​Government doctor says public ‘may not comprehend’ her confusing lead testing comments

A senior government doctor says the Hong Kong public “may not necessarily comprehend” her comment on the lead contamination of a public estate’s water supplies, and urged them to take a “scientific approach”.

Ching Cheuk-duen from the Centre of Health Protection previously said that the lead contamination at Kwai Luen Estate’s water supply bears little hazard if a resident does not intake more than 10 microgram of lead per litre “over a lifetime”. The comments prompted heavy criticisms from the public. 

Last week, water supplies at the Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon were found to contain high lead content.

In a media session on Tuesday, Ching was repeatedly questioned on the critcisms, Mingpao reports. She said her theories “may not be comprehended by the public, but one should understand it from a scientific point of view”. She also assured the public that the lead level found in the water does not exceed the World Health Organisation standards for a “non-long time consumption period”. 

Sorry, lady. We just don’t understand all your science talk.

Ching also claimed that a risk assessment has ruled out the possibility of acute intoxication as the contamination level is low, and a person may “occasionally go below or above the limit” over their lifespan.

“If you have been drinking quality water for the past 70-80 years, [consuming contaminated water for a short time] would not constitute a health hazard as it is below the limit overall.”

She added that she understands residents’ concerns and suggested they undertake blood testing.

So there’s nothing to worry about but you should get tested anyway. Now we really are confused!

Related Stories:

Legionella bacteria now found in HK housing estate’s lead-heavy water


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