Indiana Daily Student

Early samples show high amounts of lead present after controlled burn, expert says

<p>The site where the Bloomington Fire Department conducted a controlled burn is seen Nov. 10, 2021, at 1213 S. High St. The exercise caused lead-containing debris to spread in the area surrounding the site, according to a City of Bloomington press release Monday.</p>

The site where the Bloomington Fire Department conducted a controlled burn is seen Nov. 10, 2021, at 1213 S. High St. The exercise caused lead-containing debris to spread in the area surrounding the site, according to a City of Bloomington press release Monday.

Three members of the Bloomington City Council, at a public meeting Wednesday, notified residents about the effects of the controlled burn of the house at 1213 S. High St., which caused lead paint debris to spread to nearby homes. Some samples have contained high measurements of lead. 

“Consider the situation hazardous,” Councilmember Dave Rollo said. 

The Bloomington Fire Department intentionally started the controlled burn for training purposes. BFD and city officials will lead the cleanup of the debris that resulted from the exercise, according to a City of Bloomington press release Monday.

Much of the affected area is located within Council District IV, which Rollo represents

Over 500 test kits for soil samples will be delivered to homeowners in the affected area, IU-Purdue University-Indianapolis Ph.D. student John Shukle said. Some of the samples contained over 10% lead with an average of around 4%, Leah Wood, a graduate student working at the IUPUI lab where testing is being done, said. 

“They were so high that it makes more sense to measure them in percent lead, sadly, instead of parts per million,” Wood said. 

Special receptacles were placed in the area Sunday for residents to dispose of debris and used cleaning materials, according to the release.

The use of lead paint in homes was banned in 1978, but houses built prior to that year likely have lead-based paint, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Indra Frank, director of environmental health and water policy at the Hoosier Environmental Council, said children are very susceptible to lead poisoning, which can cause developmental issues in children such as learning disabilities and behavior problems. 

To reduce risk, Frank said experts suggest affected residents wipe down windows with a damp cloth, take their shoes off before entering their house and wash the paws of pets if they go outside.

A map of the affected area is available on BFD’s website

Residents in the affected area can fill out this form to have their property evaluated for the presence of lead. Properties considered to be in the remediation area will still be contacted, regardless if they fill out the form. 

Over 100 people have already filled out the remediation form but fewer than ten have had their properties evaluated, Rollo said. 

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