BREAKING NEWS: Senators call for EPA inquiry into lead smelter sites
If you read our latest CONNECT THE DOTS package, then you read USA TODAY’S investigative report: “Ghost Factories: Poison in the Ground”. Because of that report, several U.S. senators now are calling for the EPA to initiate an inquiry in to lead factory/smelter sites.
In a letter sent Wednesday to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the senators urged the EPA to “take immediate action” to review unassessed sites and to set priorities for remediation, such as sites near schools or playgrounds. “It is necessary to ensure that people living near these sites, especially children, are safe,” the letter said.
“A 14-month USA TODAY investigation, published last month, revealed that government regulators did little to investigate and protect the public from the toxic fallout that remains in soil around many of the hundreds of former lead factories, often called smelters, that operated during the 1930s to 1960s — before environmental regulations. The EPA was given a list of the former factory locations more than 10 years ago. At dozens of sites, EPA investigators recommended soil testing to determine what risks remained, but at most of the sites it was never done, USA TODAY found.
USA TODAY found evidence of smelting or factory work at more than 230 of the sites nationwide. The newspaper’s tests of soil in 21 neighborhoods around former smelter sites in 13 states found dangerous levels of lead in many locations. The lead in the soil probably comes from a combination of sources, including factory emissions, the legacy of leaded gasoline use as well as flaking lead-based paint. Regardless of the source, the human body treats lead as a poison linked especially in children to lost intelligence, ADHD and other health problems.”
And then take a look at the “Exide’s Negative Impact on Other Communities” page to learn more about the long-term impact on people in communities around the world.