Kids in East Chicago tested for high lead levels

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (WLS) -- Children in East Chicago were tested for lead Thursday after recent test results found high levels of lead in the area and the blood of some children there.

Shawn Brown took his 6-year-old son for a free lead test.

"The results were wonderful," Brown said. "He passed with a 1.0, he did great."

While Brown is relieved, Tatanisha Reid was not so lucky. A first test showed her son Julian had a very high level of lead in his blood. The 1-year-old took a second test to confirm the results, which Reid is still waiting to hear back on.

"If something is wrong with him, I want to make sure he is ok," she said.

Ever since the East Chicago mayor ordered the evacuation of the West Calumet housing complex in 2016, there has been a big push by the government to get the children in the complex and surrounding neighborhoods tested.

"We want to make sure we are catching everybody," said Beth Wrobel, CEO of HealthLinc, a mobile health clinic. "We have found it easier to go where people are than to expect them come to us."

Results of the lead tests are available within minutes.

"If they come back with an elevated lead level, the health department's actually here to start them down the path of case management, so that means making sure that the kid and the child's family receives adequate information about where the danger is in their home," said Paul Krievens, with the Indiana Department of Health.

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to clean up neighborhoods surrounding the demolished housing complex. Lead-contaminated soil has been removed from hundreds of properties. The source of high levels of lead in kids may also come from old paint in homes.
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