EPA looks into plants' lead risks
By USA Today
Published: Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, 9:48 p.m.
The Environmental Protection Agency is re-examining more than 460 former lead factory sites across the nation for health hazards left by their toxic fallout onto soil.
The effort, a result of a USA TODAY investigation, involves locations in dozens of states and has identified several sites needing further investigation and some so dangerous that cleanups are being scheduled, according to records and interviews with state regulators.
In Portland, Ore., one home's yard is so contaminated with lead and arsenic that 20 tons of soil will need to be removed; three nearby homes also likely will need cleanups.
State regulators in New York have identified at least six sites in New York City and one in Syracuse that are “of particular concern,” plus at least six others that need further investigation, a report says.
In Detroit, the EPA has found enough potential hazards at an old factory property lined by homes that the agency has reversed a state determination five years ago that no further action was needed.
In Illinois, two Chicago sites are slated for cleanups and eight others have been flagged for more study.
In Cleveland, three sites are being looked at for possible cleanups and “several” more have risks needing deeper investigation.
Regulators are also testing soil in neighborhoods in Maryland, Georgia and New Jersey.
These actions are in addition to those previously reported, including a $1.26 million EPA cleanup of several yards in Edison, N.J.; a cleanup recommendation at a Newark condo complex; and actions taken to address lead in the athletic fields at a New York City park built atop a smelter site.
“I'm glad that the federal government has taken seriously the reports from USA TODAY and my request to investigate the residual contamination,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
In May, Brown and five other U.S. senators called on the EPA to examine the smelter sites. “Thousands of Ohioans, including infants and small children, may have been unknowingly exposed to dangerously high levels of lead .” EPA officials have not responded to interview requests about their national smelter initiative since Sept. 28. USA TODAY obtained the agency's smelter strategy memo under the Freedom of Information Act.
In April, USA TODAY's “Ghost Factories” investigation revealed that the EPA was given a list in 2001 of forgotten lead factories that primarily operated during the 1930s through the 1960s, before the era of environmental regulation. The EPA was warned that many of the long-closed factories had likely contaminated the soil in surrounding properties.
USA TODAY found regulators had done little to investigate many of the sites or warn thousands of families and children in harm's way. The series is at ghostfactories.usatoday.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scientists: Test West Coast for Fukushima radiation
- Climate contraptions get real consideration
- Climate contraptions get real consideration
- Consensus on how to notify data breach victims lacks
- 273 cited in Ohio in year for texting, driving
- 2 dozen injured as California school stage falls
- Americans riding public transit in record numbers
- Officer among 3 men killed in Ohio club shooting
- Toomey instrumental in derailing Justice nominee
- Health marketplace targets not signing up, survey shows
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles