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October 15, 2015

EPA investigating old Kensington factory site; children reportedly have high lead levels

Environment Health
Kensington Factory site Google Maps/Street View

A USA Today investigation of the site of an old factory at the corner of East Cumberland and Almond streets in Kensington has prompted federal studies on levels of lead in nearby soil.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating a former factory site on the border of Kensington and Port Richmond where area children have been reported to have elevated blood lead levels.

According to NewsWorks, the EPA investigation is expected to be completed “within a few months,” at which time there will be a determination on whether a site contamination cleanup will be conducted.

The call for action is the result of a USA Today investigation and subsequent federal study of local children's blood lead levels, which were found to be higher than the national average of 2.5 percent, falling at between an average of 11 and 13 percent. 

“Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect intelligence, ability to pay attention and academic achievement, according to the CDC,” NewsWorks reports. "Higher levels of exposure can have serious long-term neurological and physiological impacts."

In its investigation, USA Today found and reported on several cases of high levels of lead in soil near the sites of factories across the country, including the former John T. Lewis/National Lead/Anzon facility, which used to stand at the corner of Almond and East Cumberland streets.

While the EPA has the authority to remove lead contamination from soil, it has not yet done so at the Philadelphia location. The agency says it hasn’t confirmed the source of the contaminated soil is the old factory.

PhillyVoice reporter Daniel Craig contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and read more at NewsWorks and USA Today.


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