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News About Lead Poisoning

January 29, 2002

Herculaneum, MO residents want their city put on the federal government list ranking the nation's most polluted sites, in hopes for government buyout of their lead-filled homes. Most families in Herculaneum just want to get their families out of the lead contaminated areas but cannot afford it because their house and land value is so low due to the health problems and location to the lead smelters. Some families have been able to take advantage of the temporary relocation while they wait for their homes and yard to be stripped of the lead contamination.
Herculaneum has had more luck with lead cleanup than other areas. Missouri's Old Lead Belt has been on this list for a decade and they have yet to see relocation for their residents. The cleanup has been a long and slow process, much slower than Herculaneum's lead cleanup. The area in the Old Lead Belt has 25,000 residents and is about 10 times the population of Herculaneum but may have been overlooked because the EPA bypassed Sueperfund's complex national priority list. Officials claim that Superfund is a slow-moving process that takes time. Herculaneum has received a lot of press attention that may be the reason their clean up has progressed so much faster than other areas, but according to a Herculaneum Alderman, the EPA has not guaranteed the cleanup will work out.

January 29, 2002

Herculaneum has received a lot of attention because of the high levels of lead poisoning that have been tested in around a quarter of the town's children. The risks associated with lead poisoning are serious, including neurological problems, like learning disabilities. The lead poisoning problems that have been highlighted are not even as bad as the number of other cities that have been affected much worse than the Herculaneum residents.

While Herculaneum has received a lot of attention for their high levels of lead, other poor, urban areas have yet to receive protection from the lead poisoning afflicted on the children. The EPA claims they are unable to help these children that must live in old, run down conditions full of lead based paint chips and flakes.

January 24, 2002

The federal official announced they would temporarily move hundred of residents from Herculaneum out of their homes in order to strip the lead contamination from the yards and homes. The relocation would include homes with young children, pregnant women, and various others, as well as homes with children older than 6 but who have high lead levels. There are skeptical opinions of how effective the lead cleanup will be, considering there is still a smelter polluting the town with lead. Tests performed on various Herculaneum areas have found that there are dangerous levels of lead contained in the soil, streets, homes, schools, and many other places. The children are the most potentially affected by the lead poisoning because the risk of reduced cognitive, behavioral, and developmental problems. U.S. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and Governor Bob Holden asked the EPA to put Herculaneum on the EPA Superfund national priority list of sites that need government funds for cleanup.

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