When the clean up began at the former Pasminco smelter, the site was scraped back to the rock to remove contaminated material after the Herald's investigation found that a state-sanctioned clean up of toxic land two years earlier at north Lake Macquarie had failed.
Toxic Truth: The complete Newcastle Herald investigation
Dangerous levels of heavy metal pollution were found across three suburbs, a catalogue of government failings and residents feared sick from past exposure.
Lead experts said exposure to the contaminated soil and dust could cause sickness, brain damage, behavioural problems and retardation in children.
More than 130 soil and household dust samples were taken from homes, sports fields, parks and schools in Boolaroo, Speers Point, Argenton and Teralba as part of the joint Herald and Macquarie University investigation.
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