The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has reportedly found dangerous levels of lead contamination at a Newark, New Jersey public housing playground next to an old smelter site. The story gained national attention as regulators scrambled to investigate and remedy the contamination. The report, published in USA Today, shows the tested soil contained 15 times more lead than authorized by federal law.
The surrounding residents, including a 275 unit public housing complex and private homes, were unaware of the toxic lead contamination. Children have played at the park for decades and the effects of the contamination are yet to be seen. The lot adjacent to the park was operated by Barth Smelting from 1946 until 1982. Prior to Barth Smelting, the site was used to manufacture lead batteries.
Government officials returned to the property in mid-February to began removing pieces of playground equipment. The extent of the contamination is currently under investigation. You can review the results of the EPA soil tests here.