Researchers offer free lead tests to residents of Westside superfund area – WABE

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Researchers from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Emory University are launching a new study this spring to test the blood of Westside Atlanta residents for lead.

More than 2,000 residential properties in the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods are part of an EPA-designated superfund area for cleanup.

Eri Saikawa, an associate professor of environmental science at Emory University who specializes in air quality, climate change, and heavy metal soil contamination and began studying lead contamination in western Atlanta in 2018, and its research team are offering free lead poisoning testing to residents of the superfund area.

“We hope that many people will join us from the Westside. We are going to make it available for everyone who comes, not just for children but also for adults,” Saikawa says. “Some people have told us that they are also worried about older children.

The free blood tests are part of the ongoing joint effort by EPA and Emory scientists to investigate and clean up high levels of lead contamination linked to a history of industry in the Westside. The agency recently added the superfund site to its list of national priorities, opening up more opportunities for federal funding to help with mitigation.

“The EPA recognizes that no community deserves to have contaminated sites near where they live, work, pray and go to school,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, in a press release.

Saikawa urges anyone concerned about lead exposure near the superfund site to take advantage of its free blood testing program, scheduled for April 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Westside Promise Youth Center located at 740 Cameron Madison Alexander Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318.

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