Jan 7, 2013
Many of Chicago’s working class neighborhoods have problems with lead contamination.
Neighborhood environmental activists found an empty lot next to an elementary school that had 14 times the amount of lead considered dangerous for children, as well as 23 times the allowed level of arsenic. The site used to house a metal smelter, which polluted the ground, but has long since closed. Children now cut across the lot to get to and from school.
The activists referred the empty lot to the Environmental Protection Agency, but the EPA took more than a year just to conduct their own tests, and have yet to take any action.
Instead of waiting, activists put crime-scene tape around the lot, and put up signs warning residents.
That got people’s attention!