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Twenty four children who lived in or near the same street are suffering neurotoxin and lead poisoning after ingesting noxious particles carried by Port Pirie-bound trains, District Court documents claim.
In a statement of claim lodged with the court, 24 people are suing the Commonwealth on behalf of their family members, claiming trains which travelled from Broken Hill, in New South Wales, to Port Pirie between 1975 and 1998 covered a street with "clouds of particles, including lead".
Those taking the court action lived on or near Gaffney St in Broken Hill, and claim to suffer a range of disabilities.
Outside court, the mother of three children seeking compensation said she was uncertain about their futures.
Lauren Whitaker, who now lives in South Australia, said her daughter, Caitlin Lihou, 12, now suffered learning difficulties.
"When I got them checked, I was really surprised (the lead levels) were very, very high," she told The Advertiser.
"I was devastated. I didn't know what their outcome on life was going to be.
"I don't know where they are going to go or what they are going to do."
In court documents, many of the plaintiffs claim to suffer nose bleeds, learning difficulties and musculo-skeletal problems. Those who were allegedly affected are aged between nine and 21.
The trains referred to those in the documents were operated by the Australian National Railways Commission until 2000 and carried ore from Broken Hill to Port Pirie.
"As any train operated by ARNC and carrying ore was driven along the said railway, clouds of particles including lead. . . were carried by wind from the carriages of the train over the adjacent land and on to and about houses in and about Gaffney St, where the plaintiffs resided," the statement of claim says.
The Crown denies liability and the matter is next listed for August.
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