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NAACP To Help East Chicago Residents Test For Lead

The Calumet neighborhood in East Chicago is part of a federal toxic waste cleanup site contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Photo: (Annie Ropeik/IPBS)

The Calumet neighborhood in East Chicago is part of a federal toxic waste cleanup site contaminated with lead and arsenic.

The NAACP will teach East Chicago, Indiana residents how to use lead testing kits this week. The training comes as residents continue to cope with lead contaminated soil and water.

The Calumet neighborhood in East Chicago is part of a federal toxic waste cleanup site contaminated with lead and arsenic. The neighborhood is also having a problem with lead leaching out of drinking water service lines.

The NAACP is partnering with Indiana State University and the Union of Concerned Scientists to teach residents how to use kits to test for lead in soil, air, and water. The NAACP’s Denise Abdul-Rahman says it will also help school-aged children cope with a legacy of lead contamination.

“[It will] peak their consciousness and awareness,” Abdul-Rahman says, and “give them tools, and to teach them some forms of empowerment.”

Abdul-Rahman says the training is necessary because of a systemic failure of government at all levels to protect some of Indiana’s most vulnerable residents.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to remove lead contaminated soil from the neighborhood. And the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently approved the demolition of a lead contaminated housing complex which was forcibly evacuated over the last year.

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