According to a report released today by Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB), state regulators are allowing the Army to leave higher than previously-approved levels of lead in soils at Badger Army Ammunition Plant – a move that could place the health of children at risk.
“Based on a $6-million risk assessment by the Army, both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and WNDR approved a cleanup level of 30 parts per million (ppm) in 1998,” said Laura Olah, Executive Director of CSWAB. “The WDNR is now approving lead levels as high as 250 ppm, a level which places children at particular risk considering the minute levels that cause adverse effects in children.”
“A remediation goal for human babies should be as close to zero as possible as there is no safe exposure to lead,” said Dr. Peter deFur, a consultant and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University working with CSWAB. “As lead is studied more and more, we find that it is more and more toxic. It would be a great injustice if our children were allowed to be exposed to this incredibly toxic compound unnecessarily.”
“Prolonged exposure to soil at the elevated cleanup level could raise lead levels in children’s blood to dangerous levels,” deFur added. “Leaving such significant concentrations of lead in the soil could potentially harm the intellectual development of children.”
Lead is a blue gray metal found naturally in the environment. Human activities such as military and industrial operations concentrate lead in some areas, which can lead to a number of significant health risks. Lead targets the central nervous system, and impairs its development in children. Children exposed to lead have demonstrated lower IQs, reduced motor skills, developmental problems, hyperactivity, and increased aggression.
To view the report, go to http://cswab.org/safewater/lead.pdf.