We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

News Releases from Region 05

EPA Takes Steps to Reduce Lead Exposure at West Calumet Housing Complex in East Chicago, Ind.

Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (bassler.rachel@epa.gov)

For Immediate Release: No. 16-OPA022

CHICAGO (July 6, 2016) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to reduce potential public health risks from exposure to lead-contaminated soil at the West Calumet Housing Complex in East Chicago, Ind. Starting tomorrow, EPA will begin covering patches of bare dirt at the complex with mulch. This will provide a temporary, protective barrier until EPA can dig up and remove the lead-contaminated soil.

EPA will install shredded rubber mulch around a playground area at Goodman Park and cover bare dirt in housing complex yards with mulch. Later this summer, EPA will remove contaminated soil from housing complex yards where it has identified the highest lead levels. These actions are part of a larger effort to clean up the USS Lead Superfund site.

To ensure the health and safety of children, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, advises parents to prevent children from playing in dirt, to wash their children’s toys regularly and to wash their children’s hands after they play outside. All residents should remove shoes before walking into their homes. ATSDR also recommends that residents in the West Calumet Housing Complex not dig or garden in their yards.

EPA and ATSDR have been going door-to-door providing information to residents about steps they can take to reduce exposure to lead contamination. EPA is working closely with the City of East Chicago and the East Chicago Public Housing Authority.

West Calumet residents may have their children’s blood lead tested by calling the East Chicago Health Department at 219-391-8467.

To learn about preventing children’s exposure to lead, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/parents.htm

More information about the history of the USS Lead Superfund site is available at: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/ussmelter-lead-refinery.