Pilsen Residents, Government Officials Discuss Toxic Pollution in the Neighborhood – Alderman Daniel Solis (25th) will Not Attend

Wednesday May 11 2011

Contact: Maria Torres, 312.243.5440
Jerry Mead, 312.502.7867

The Illinois Attorney General’s Environmental Bureau is the latest confirmed participant to today’s community meeting against toxic pollution in Pilsen. The confirmation provides an important encouragement to the community’s effort to bring dangerous levels of pollution in the community under control. The Illinois EPA, another important player in deciding the pace of action, has also confirmed its participation to the meeting. Alderman Daniel Solis (25th) is so far the only invited official not attending.

Wednesday, May 11, 6.30 PM Casa Aztlan, 1831 S. Racine

The meeting will be the first large informational event since the Chicago Tribune revealed April 1 that lead levels in Pilsen’s air were above the health norm for most of 2010. One day, the lead content was up to 10 times the norm. Coal soot and other carcinogenic emissions are also an issue. Dr. Curt Lohff, Medical Director for the Chicago Health Department, and Brian Urbaszewski from the Respiratory Association of Metropolitan Chicago will also be on hand to provide information regarding health concerns.

Lead is especially detrimental to young children, affecting the development of the nervous system and other important functions. The Tribune’s report caused great alarm especially because the readings were taken from the roof a 500-student elementary school, Manuel Perez Jr.

Pollution became a wedge issue in the last municipal elections, forcing the alderman into a runoff.