More than 20 cases of jewellry poisoning have been recorded in Australia, according to the first comprehensive report of the poisonings.
The Australian Jewellers’ Association (AIJA) said it was working to identify the source of the cases, and that it was urging the Australian Government to step in.
The latest case occurred in Melbourne, where a man and a woman, both aged 35, have been diagnosed with jewellers poisoning.
In a statement, AIJA chief executive Richard Jewell said the man had had a blood test and the woman had had another, but both had not received any antidote yet.
He said the poisoning had taken place at a jeweller’s shop, where one of the employees had had to undergo emergency surgery to save his life.
He described the incident as “very high”.
“There are very, very high rates of poisonings, and unfortunately these incidents do occur in the community,” Mr Jewell told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“It’s a problem we all need to work together to tackle, and to understand why this is happening and to put an end to it.”
The report released on Monday said the jewellery industry was a major source of pollution in Australia.
“The industry generates around a third of the total pollution, and is the single largest source of toxic pollution in the country,” it said.
“There is also a significant number of workers who are exposed to the poison.”
In the past, the number of poison-related deaths in Australia has been estimated to be around 15 per cent of the population.
“We’re looking at over 10,000 deaths in the last 12 months, a figure that we’re only just now beginning to take seriously,” Mr Israel said.