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Galvanizers Join Global Zinc Effort for Kids

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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The American Galvanizers Association has joined a fast-growing industry effort to support the International Zinc Association’s “Zinc Saves Kids” initiative, which provides supplements to children suffering from zinc deficiencies.

AGA will share the prototype campaign with members at its annual convention in the spring and will urge the associates to adopt their own version of the program.

“Each year, more than 450,000 children under the age of five are at risk of dying due to zinc deficiency,” said Cilon Lage, commercial executive vice president of Houston-based U.S. Zinc, the world’s largest producer of zinc oxide and a major supporter of the program.

Coatings and Kids

The cause is a great fit for the zinc industry. Zinc and zinc-containing alloys are currently the predominant protective coating material.

But zinc is also a trace metal that is present in the brain and contributes to its structure and function. Evidence from both animal and human studies suggests that zinc deficiency may lead to delays in cognitive development and increased risk of diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria. A few extra milligrams of zinc every day can make a huge difference, experts say. Zinc supplements-typically tablets or sprinkles-have proved to be an effective and inexpensive remedy.

IZA launched the Zinc Saves Kids program in January with an initial donation of $1.66 million. U.S. Zinc picked up the cause a few months ago, and its fundraising campaign has already caught the eye of its business partners, including AGA.

IZA Chairman Don Lindsay presents a check for $1.66 million to UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman to launch Zinc Saves Kids.

“The ‘Zinc Saves Kids’ program hits close to home for our industry, and we are honored that the AGA has chosen to present this campaign,” says Lage. "It’s the first step in showing companies how easy it is to develop similar programs that will ultimately make zinc supplements more available to at-risk children and help save lives.”

‘A Great Long-Term Cause’

U.S. Zinc’s parent company, Votorantim Metals, adopted the initiative in its South American locations earlier this year, asking employees to make donations. Recently, U.S. Zinc rolled out the campaign to all of its U.S. plants, agreeing to match all employee donations. The company also developed materials for any business looking to launch its own program. That effort then caught AGA’s attention.

AGA executive director Phil Rahrig calls the program "a great long-term cause for our members. We look forward to making it part of our convention this year and in years to come.”

$3M Goal

“Zinc Saves Kids” aims to raise $3 million over a three-year period from the global zinc community. Monies will be used to fund UNICEF-supported zinc supplementation programs. Similar programs are already underway in Peru and other countries with excellent results, especially in the treatment and prevention of diarrhea, the second-most-common cause of child deaths worldwide. A video describes the program’s success in Peru.

Founded in 1935, AGA is a non-profit trade association that serves fabricators, architects, specifiers, and engineers with technical support and technological developments in hot-dip galvanizing for corrosion control.

IZA, based in Brussels, Belgium, is a global industry association dedicated to the interests of zinc and its users.


Tagged categories: American Galvanizers Association; Galvanized steel; International Zinc Association; Protective coatings; US Zinc; Zinc oxide; Zinc-rich (inorganic); Zinc-rich (organic)

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