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Report: East Chicago Superfund Blood Lead Levels Higher Than Overall City

By Lauren Chapman and Barb Anguiano, IPB News | Published on in Environment, Health, Statewide News
(Samantha Horton/IPB News)
(Samantha Horton/IPB News)

A new study shows the historical blood lead levels of children in East Chicago’s Superfund site remained higher than those in the rest of the city.

This contradicts a previous 2011 health assessment from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry – ATSDR – did not parse blood lead levels in the Superfund from the rest of the city. It concluded the Superfund site did not pose a health threat to residents living in it.

However, the new ATSDR study takes geography into account and determined there is still a health threat.

the report presented at a community forum verifies what residents say they already knew – children living in the Superfund site were more than twice as likely to have elevated blood lead levels than children living in other parts of the city.

ATSDR Regional Director Mark Johnson says the agency hopes to help residents contact professionals and resources to get the help they need if they’ve been affected by lead.

“We’re trying to do what we can to share what we know with them. We heard concerns about not being notified of blood testing of kids, so we’ll bring that back to the state and if there is a process not being followed, that that be corrected.”

The agency said it will conduct an extensive review of past and present environmental lead sources in another report.

It also recommends working with the Indiana State Department of Health and the local health department to encourage blood lead testing in children, and enter children with elevated levels into case management to address the effects of lead in their bodies.