An old industrial site in Chicago is being targeted for cleanup by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after soil testing found dangerously high levels of lead contamination, according to this story from the USA Today.
Now a vacant lot in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood, the site was home to a lead factory in the 1940s.
The EPA vowed to pursue cleanup after recent tests revealed contamination across much of the property. In some cases, topsoil contained lead concentrations 57 times higher than EPA health advisory levels.
The old factory site is in a residential area and abuts a pedestrian path and city sidewalk. A community garden and elementary school are also nearby.
The dangers of lead exposure were raised in a 2006 report, where environmental officials cited initial test results and noted the site was a popular shortcut for pedestrians.
According to the EPA website, lead exposure can cause a variety of health problems,primarily in children and the elderly. Common impacts include slow growth and development in children, pregnancy complications and increased blood pressure in adults.
The EPA plans to test neighboring parcels, but did not offer specifics on the scope of that investigation.
It is unknown when the site cleanup will begin. The EPA had to secure a court order to test at the old factory site, and it’s unclear if another court order will be required to begin cleanup.