EPA Cracks Down on Chicago's Pilsen Smelter

"Federal and state officials are cracking down on a smelter in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood after tracing high levels of toxic lead in the air outside an elementary school less than two blocks away.

In a legal complaint filed today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused H. Kramer and Co. of emitting illegal amounts of brain-damaging pollution detected between October and January at Perez Elementary School, 1241 W. 19th St.

At the same time, the Illinois EPA asked Attorney General Lisa Madigan to take enforcement action against H. Kramer, one of the biggest sources of lead in the Chicago area.

The Tribune first reported early this month that average lead levels in the air at Perez were at or above federal limits during three three-month periods in 2010. Lead pollution exceeded health standards during a fifth of the days monitored last year and, on one day in December, spiked more than 10 times higher that the federal limit."

Michael Hawthorne reports for the Chicago Tribune April 21, 2011.

Friday, April 22, 2011