Tyroler Metals Smelter Site Lead Contamination | Cleveland, OH

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Cleveland Smelter Site Case Study In EPA Helplessness

Way back in 2003, Ohio EPA state regulators studied lead levels at the Tyroler Metals Lead Smelter site and other former industrial sites in Cleveland. Then they forwarded the data to the City of Cleveland and the Federal EPA. In 2003, Cleveland has the highest rate of child lead poisoning in Ohio and second in the country. Nobody did anything. The children who played in their yards then would be graduating high school now.

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Due to the publicity generated from a U.S.A. investigative series earlier in 2012, the city has promised to begin new testing. Then the finger pointing will continue.

The Tyroler Metals Smelter began operating in 1927 and spewed poison into the neighborhood until 1956. That’s how things were done in the good old days of full employment.

In 2001, a EPA employee wrote an article for the American Journal of Public Health and identified sites that could be contaminated by high levels of lead, according to an Ohio EPA report. The U.S. EPA requested state regulators study the sites in Cleveland based on the report.

In 2003, the year regulators got around to examining the soil at the factories, The Plain Dealer reported that Cleveland had the second-highest lead-poisoning rate of children under the age of 6 among nine comparable cities in the East and Midwest. The city also had the highest lead-poisoning rate in Ohio. Though the agencies expressed concern internally, residents of the area were not warned and no one began a “clean up”.

People who still live in the neighborhood are angry  that they were not informed earlier of any risks to them and their property.

Children who go out to play in areas that have lead contaminated soil and, for instance and touch their mouths after without washing their hands risk ingesting even small amounts of lead which can become poisonous to their still developing systems.

When a lead smelting plant such as the one at Tyroler Metals Site are in operation the soil in and around the area of the plant automatically becomes contaminated by lead particles which churn out from the chimneys of the factories. The particles of lead will stay in the first few inches of the soil for lengthy periods of time; it’s estimated sometimes for hundreds of years – even if the soil eventually becomes cultivated, there are still issues regarding contamination.

Due to the publicity generated from a U.S.A. investigative series earlier in 2012, the city has promised to begin new testing. Then the finger pointing will continue.

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