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New data sounds alarm on Indianapolis lead levels

Posted at 11:23 PM, Nov 21, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — The NAACP is sending a warning that Indiana has a problem, and the proof is in the pipes.

"Indianapolis, like many modern urban cities, suffers from historic legacy problems of lead pollution. It's a major issue," John Shukle said.

The threat of lead poisoning is hitting closer to home after new research has experts comparing Indianapolis to Flint, Mich.

"The percentage of children who are above the EPA recommended guidelines for led in blood we are as poisoned as Flint or more," Shukle said.

Unlike in Flint, the lead problem in Indianapolis isn't coming from just a single source. Lead has been found in dirt, dust and old water pipes. At an awareness forum hosted by the NAACP, Reggie Jones, and Indianapolis resident and activist, was livid after learning of the Circle City's lead problem for the first time.

"I'm upset, very angry, disappointed with the mayor, the health department because they are keeping the information from us," Jones said. "We should know what's going on. They say if we let the people know they will panic. Panic! We should panic! We should be upset with them because they haven't done anything about it. "

Pat Boy, an Indiana legislator, is trying to do something about the problem, but a bill she introduced this year requiring lead testing never made it out of committee. Boy said she is up against time and lawmakers who aren't paying attention.

"What I wanted to do was require that all children be required to be tested for lead before they start school because so many are not tested," Boy said. "Even if they did a mass testing event before school starts, anything would be better than what they are doing now."

Earlier this year, the NAACP partnered with Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Marion County Health Department to test students in kindergarten and first grade for lead. The voluntary testing wrapped up in the city's charter schools last week. Testing at IPS and Pike Township schools will begin next year.

RTV6 reached out to Citizens Energy Group and they submitted the following response:

“We monitor for lead and have found our water to be safe. “