Some 1,200 residents of a public housing complex in East Chicago have been advised to move due to lead exposure.
Specifically, the soil around the building contains high levels of lead and arsenic. The area was previously home to a 79-acre U.S. EPA Superfund site that housed a USS Lead facility.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently informed the city of East Chicago and its public housing authority of the high lead and arsenic levels. The city’s health department then offered lead testing to the housing development’s residents, including children, with 670 youths being targeted for testing.
In a letter to residents, Mayor Anthony Copeland advised residents to contact the East Chicago Health Department for child testing.
“Now that we know the levels of lead in the ground in the West Calumet Housing Complex, we feel it is in your best interest to temporarily relocate your household to safer conditions,” the letter reads. “[East Chicago Housing Authority] ECHA is asking HUD to provide vouchers for safe, sanitary housing as soon as possible. Even though this may be a great inconvenience to you, it’s necessary to protect you and your children from possible harm.”
According to the EPA, lead levels in the top six inches of soil sparked the need for cleanup, which has not been scheduled. The exact levels of lead and arsenic in the soil have not been released as of yet.