New report confirms East Chicago lead troubles

By The Associated Press

EAST CHICAGO — Northwestern Indiana residents and environmental advocates say they’re perplexed that a federal agency took two years to release its first report about blood-lead levels in children who live at a lead-tainted Superfund site.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry report last week found that many young children who lived at the USS Lead Superfund site from 2005 to 2015 were nearly three times more likely to be lead-poisoned compared with children living elsewhere in East Chicago.

The report is the latest acknowledgement that officials repeatedly failed to protect residents in the low-income, predominantly black and Hispanic city, despite decades of warnings of pollution left by local abandoned factories. Families evacuated the West Calumet Housing Complex in 2016 amid public outcry.

Environmental activist Thomas Frank said Saturday the new report “shows us nothing we didn’t already know.”

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