Congressman Pete Visclosky

Representing the 1st District of Indiana

Donnelly, Young, Visclosky Request Continued Assistance for East Chicago Residents From HHS and CDC

Jul 14, 2017
Press Release
Members urge thorough examination of containment exposure faced by Hoosier families and ask for treatment, prevention, and education opportunities for impacted residents

Washington, D.C.  - U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, U.S. Senator Todd Young, and U.S. Representative Peter J. Visclosky (IN-01) sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Dr. Tom Price, and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, requesting assistance for the residents of East Chicago impacted by the contamination at the USS Lead Superfund site. The request from Donnelly, Young, and Visclosky is part of their ongoing efforts to help the more than 1,000 residents affected by the dangerous environmental contamination in the soil of the site.

Donnelly, Young, and Visclosky said in their letter, in part, “Given the lengthy timeframe residents have potentially been subjected to cumulative exposures…residents are rightfully concerned about the long-term impacts to their health and well-being. We ask that HHS work with the City to identify opportunities available to improve treatment, prevention, and education programs for area residents. We also ask that HHS detail its ability to provide long-term health monitoring and treatment for impacted residents, both past and present…We urge CDC to ensure that the [public health] assessment is a thorough examination of the cumulative, long-term exposure residents face through all potential exposure pathways while living, working, and playing in the neighborhood…The residents of the USS Lead Superfund Site deserve to be confident that their homes and their neighborhoods are not harmful to their health.”

The signed letter and the full text of the letter are below.

 

July 13, 2017

 

The Honorable Thomas E. Price, M.D.

Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald

Director

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Dear Secretary Price and Director Fitzgerald:

As you are both well aware, the residents of the communities impacted by the USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago, Indiana have significant concerns regarding the potential health effects of their exposure to lead, arsenic, and other contaminants. We appreciate the efforts from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to date, and we are writing to request your continued assistance for the residents and the City of East Chicago.

The City and the State of Indiana have been working to provide free blood testing to impacted residents, which has been helpful in identifying residents needing the most immediate treatment and care. Given the lengthy timeframe residents have potentially been subjected to cumulative exposures, however, residents are rightfully concerned about the long-term impacts to their health and well-being. We ask that HHS work with the City to identify opportunities available to improve treatment, prevention, and education programs for area residents. We also ask that HHS detail its ability to provide long-term health monitoring and treatment for impacted residents, both past and present.

We understand that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is updating its public health assessment to evaluate the health impacts to residents from exposure to contaminants. We urge CDC to ensure that the assessment is a thorough examination of the cumulative, long-term exposure residents face through all potential exposure pathways while living, working, and playing in the neighborhood. We also urge the CDC to provide a meaningful opportunity for the City of East Chicago, its Health Department, and other stakeholders to comment on the ATSDR's revised Health Assessment, and that the ATSDR take into account relevant current and historic testing data from all reliable sources.

The residents of the USS Lead Superfund Site deserve to be confident that their homes and their neighborhoods are not harmful to their health. We look forward to continue working with you to give residents that confidence.

Sincerely

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly

U.S. Senator Todd Young

US. Representative Peter J. Visclosky

PDF icon170713 Letter to HHS and CDC re East Chicago.pdf

###