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St. Joseph County continues conversations on lead awareness

Conversations continued Thursday on the impact lead contamination is having on South Bend communities.

Health experts and community leaders gathered at the St. Joseph Public Library this to educate neighbors on how to keep their home safe.

“That is an issue facing many homeowners who want to stay in their homes, they want to fix them up, and also keep them safe,” said Kathy Schuth, Executive Director of the Near Northwest Neighborhood Association.

Representatives from the St. Joseph County Health Department, the Historic Preservation Commission and the Near Northwest Neighborhood spoke at an informational forum on the dangers of lead poisoning.

“We’re not ready to relent yet, and we’ll keep bringing this up as an issue,” said Schuth.

Schuth and her neighborhood has been pushing this issue for a while, utilizing public gatherings like a chili bowl cookout to provide free testing and resources.

“It looks like everyone is coming together and really sending a message here in how important this is to have your children tested for potential elevated blood lead levels,” she said.

And it’s helping.

More than 1,100 kids under the age of seven in St. Joseph County had been tested since January according to the health department.

That doubles the previous year’s count.

Schuth says over 30 children from her neighborhood are a part of that tally.

“There’s definitely room for improvement and awareness and getting it out to our community,” said resident Angelina Jones. “Be aware of lead education and the solutions to safely live with it.”


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