Tests show lead in East Chicago drink­ing water

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency of­fi­cials say the fed­eral agency’s tests have dis­cov­ered el­e­vated lev­els of lead in drink­ing water in a north­west­ern In­di­ana city where con­tam­i­na­tion al­ready has forced some res­i­dents to move. The EPA on Thurs­day con­firmed the lead lev­els in some homes in East Chicago. Act­ing re­gional ad­min­is­tra­tor Robert Ka­plan told The (North­west In­di­ana) Times that the re­sults are pre­lim­i­nary and don’t in­di­cate if there is a wide­spread prob­lem. He ad­vised con­cerned res­i­dents to use a water fil­ter.

Ear­lier this year, some res­i­dents of pub­lic hous­ing were told to move be­cause of high lev­els of lead and ar­senic found at the com­plex, which is on the for­mer site of a plant that melted lead and cop­per and is on the EPA’s list of pri­or­ity cleanup sites. The EPA said in Novem­ber that it would con­duct a num­ber of pi­lot pro­grams, in­clud­ing drink­ing water test­ing at prop­er­ties at the Su­per­fund site. East Chicago Mayor An­thony Copeland wrote in a let­ter posted on­line and con­firmed by his of­fice that says the EPA told him 18 of the 45 homes tested had at least one water sam­ple ex­ceed­ing the stan­dard of 15 parts per bil­lion for lead in drink­ing water.

Even low lead lev­els in chil­dren can re­duce IQ, abil­ity to pay at­ten­tion and aca­demic achieve­ment. In his let­ter, Copeland crit­i­cized the EPA for us­ing what he called a “new, un­proven (and) un­ac­cred­ited test” and re­leas­ing the data without qual­ity con­trol pro­ce­dures. But the EPA doesn’t fault the city for not know­ing about the lead drink­ing water lev­els sooner, Ka­plan said.

“This is not a test typ­i­cally con­ducted by a water author­ity. No one is fault­ing the water author­ity,” said Ka­plan, adding that the test­ing isn’t new and has been used else­where. Copeland says he’s ask­ing for state and fed­eral fund­ing to re­place all water in­fra­struc­ture that may con­tain lead or vi­o­late water safety stan­dards. The dan­gers of lead con­tam­i­na­tion were high­lighted this year by the cri­sis in Flint, Michi­gan, where old pipes leached lead into the city’s drink­ing water be­gin­ning in 2014.—AP


NEW YORK: In this photo, med­i­cal as­sis­tant Jen­nifer Martinez draws blood from Joshua Smith that will be tested for PFOS lev­els in New­burgh, New York.

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