Saturday, May 20, 2017

As EPA Resumes Soil Cleanup For Lead, Arsenic At East Chicago Homes, Apartments, University Researchers Announce Plans To Conduct Study Of Lead Levels In Local Residents' Bones

In East Chicago, Indiana, The Times of Northwest Indiana reports:
  • [A]bout 50 residents, attorneys and researchers were in attendance [recently] at the East Chicago Library’s Pastrick branch, where Purdue University researchers announced a collaboration with Harvard and Boston University to test lead levels in East Chicago residents' bones.

    Linda H. Nie, an associate professor at Purdue University in Lafayette, said blood testing provided by the East Chicago Health Department offers only a snapshot of a person’s current lead levels.

    Bone lead levels, tested with an X-Ray fluorescence device, can measure long-term exposure. [...] The study will be limited to 20 to 40 people.

    Ellen Wells, assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at Purdue, said she hopes to launch a more in-depth, long-term study on other health impacts due to lead exposure in East Chicago.

    At [the recent] meeting, EPA staff said the agency will resume cleanup this month at “priority properties” — defined as properties with lead levels of at least 1,200 parts per million lead or 68 ppm arsenic in the top 6 inches; 400 ppm lead in the top 6 inches and a child under 7 or pregnant woman living at the property, regardless of blood lead levels; or 400 ppm lead in the top 24 inches and a child under 7 living at the property with blood lead level at or above 10 micrograms per deciliter.*

    The CDC recommends public health intervention at blood lead levels of 5 mcg or higher, but EPA on-site coordinator Dan Haag said after the meeting the consent decree reached in March with companies responsible for the pollution set the limit at 10 mcg/dl based on blood draw testing last year or later.

    About 120 properties in Zone 2, the middle part of Calumet, and more than 70 properties in zone 3, the eastern section of the neighborhood, will be cleaned this spring, according to the EPA.

    As part of the agreement, the EPA last month secured $16 million in funding from companies responsible for contamination in the Superfund site’s Zone 2.

    The funding, in part, will help pay for soil cleanup, indoor dust sampling and, where needed, indoor cleaning, Haag said. The EPA will also conduct preliminary testing for lead-based paint, EPA staff said.

    The state and federal government reached a $26 million settlement in 2014 with Atlantic Richfield and DuPont for the environmental cleanup in zones 1 and 3. Zone 1 encompasses the West Calumet Housing Complex and former Carrie Gosch Elementary School, while zone 3 includes homes in East Calumet.
For the story, see Purdue researchers want to test East Chicago residents' bones for lead.

See. generally, Where does lead go? Into bones. contamination epa environmental protection agency