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Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be taking a soil study in the downtown and Southside of Chattanooga, after a small amount of lead contaminant was found in the city.

Back in 2013, more than 80 yards were cleaned up after lead was discovered.

And the EPA is now asking nearly 400 residents for permission to sample their yards, to make sure there isn’t any more hazardous amounts of lead in the ground.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to make sure you and your family are safe from the dangers of lead.

Cathy Amoroso who is with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said, “We’re primarily concerned with children. Adults can get lead poisoning, but they really have to be exposed to a lot of lead, but for children–they’re very sensitive to this.”

This afternoon, the EPA, along with the Tennessee Department of Health held a public meeting to explain why they plan to test more than 400 residential yards for lead contamination in the downtown and Southside of Chattanooga.

This plan of action comes nearly three years after the EPA discovered a dangerous amount of lead in parts of the city, which have since been cleaned.

“If there’s lead contaminated soil, little parts of soil dust can get on people’s–under people’s finger nails, on the paws of, you know, dogs and cats, on the bottoms of shoes and that dust gets tracked in the house, and lead is harmful in that if you ingest it, it can go into the blood stream and it can cause neurotoxic affects,” said Amoroso.

Because children are the most at risk for lead poisoning, officials suggest routine testing up to the age of six, but most importantly between the ages of one and two years old.

Bonnie Hinds who is with TN Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program stated, “For the most part it’s silent in terms of physical health. That’s why the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend that children be routinely tested for lead, to make sure that they haven’t been exposed, because they’re unlikely to show signs of illness. For adults, if they’re in a situation where they expect they may be exposed to lead, I’d recommend them to get screened as well. It’s a simple blood test, um it can be done in a physician’s office.”

There will be no cost to those residents whose homes will be tested, and according to officials if more lead is discovered beyond what’s normally found in soil a risk assessment will be made to determine the next plan of action.

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