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In this Aug. 23, 2016 photo, a sign from the Environmental Protection Agency is posted in front of West Calumet Housing Complex houses at East Chicago, Ind. The EPA has detected high levels of lead in samples of dust and dirt tracked inside homes where soil is tainted with industrial contaminants. The contamination has resulted in the city calling for the demolition of the low-income complex and relocating its 1,000 residents. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim)

This Indiana town had toxic soil, but the EPA didn't tell locals for a year and a half


I was pregnant while in this complex -- exposed to lead, sleeping on a contaminated bed, laying on a contaminated couch -- nobody said anything.
Shantell Allen, East Chicago resident

East Chicago, Indiana, was tested for lead in its soil in 2014. But many residents weren't told until July 2016, and 1,000 residents were forced to move. 

A letter from the Environmental Protection Agency found lead levels up to 66 times above the EPA limits years ago.

Shantell Allen's apartment complex, West Calumet, is within a Superfund site, according to the EPA. That means it's known to pose a health risk, which is understandable since a DuPoint chemical site and a former USS Lead industrial site are nearby. 

Some yards have lead levels 227 times above the EPA lead limit and 135 times over the arsenic limit. 

And attorney Barry Rooth told CNN the chemicals are affecting children's brains.

Shame on you. We're people. We're human people with families. How dare you keep this from us and just let our kids play in lead and arsenic soil?
Shantell Allen

The EPA told CNN "increased scrutiny" over its test could have inspired it to act sooner. 

In the meantime, the Department of Housing and Urban Development gave $1.9 million in rent vouchers to help those affected by the toxicity find new homes.

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