Environmentalists reveled early this fall when public pressure forced the MIssouri Conservation Commission to rescind its approval for lead prospecting on public lands within the Ozarks watersheds of southern Missouri. The celbration was short lived, however, as activists now struggle to block efforts, again by Doe Run Mining Co., to do exploratory drilling on 7,970 acres of U.S. Forest Service land north of the pristine Eleven Point River. Missourians have already borne considerable risk as the supplier of approximately 80 percent of the nation's mined lead each year. A state Department of Health study, in results reported in August, found elevated lead blood levels in 17 percent of randomly selected children, ages six months to six years, living in an area knowns as the Old Lead Belt in St. Francois County, about 80 miles south of St. Louis.
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