US EPA says: “Pilsen Neighborhood Does Not Meet New Air Standard for Lead”

Monday June 13 2011

Thank you for Supporting the Weekend of Action against Lead.

We want to thank everyone who supported the Weekend of Action against Lead, June 11 and 12. The involvement of volunteers and neighborhood organizations made it possible to test more than 150 individuals at risk and to inform many others of the consequences of brain-damaging lead.

As we prepared this thank you note, news reports indicate that the US Environmental Protection Agency initiated the process to officially declare Pilsen one of two Illinois communities with unhealthy levels of metal in the air. (See articles below.) This designation follows revelations that in 2010 Pilsen’s average lead in the air was at the federal limit or above for most of the year. While this federal designation may be a step forward in finding a solution to this dangerous problem, it also involves a bureaucratic process that could drag for years.

While lead-based paint is a major source of exposure in children, the main responsibility for the toxic air lays at the feet of industrial polluters, particularly smelter H. Kramer and Co., the number two source of lead emissions in Chicago. Kramer is two blocks away from hundreds of school children at Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School.

As we thank you we would also like to invite you to remain alert and to join Pilsen residents and supporters who want to live and raise their children in a healthy environment.

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