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Michiana locals fighting lead crisis from Flint to South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

From Flint to South Bend, lead is poisoning people’s homes and families. As some locals work to respond to Flint’s current crisis, others in the Near Northwest Neighborhood are hoping to prevent their own.

The neighborhood hosted a DIY workshop to teach folks how to safely let the lead out…of their homes.

“Children losing their hair. Children losing their teeth. Children who are ate up with rash. Children who have sores from their parents trying to bathe them,” said Sunny Taylor, a self-proclaimed ‘water protector’ from La Porte.

That’s what Taylor heard parents describing when she visited Flint, Michigan last week.

“I can’t imagine living there, and I can’t imagine trying to raise family there, and the longer people set with it like this, the worst it’s becoming,” she said.

Michigan’s government, however, has only decided to help some of the victims.

It’s denying federal funding to folks who’ve fled Flint.

“The state government did this to Flint. They made the decision that caused the crisis…and the state is essentially putting these people through the whole crisis all over again by telling them that they’re not eligible for the resources that the federal government is providing them to help get through this problem. It’s just--it’s wrong, and it needs to be changed,” said Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee.

Congressman Kildee, who was born and raised in Flint, is hoping a letter he wrote convinces the governor to reconsider.

“So every day it comes closer and closer to home, so if we don’t stand united, then you’re done,” said Taylor.

Propelled by the problem in Flint, South Bend’s Near Northwest Neighborhood invited environmental contractor and consultant John Casey  to teach them how to DIY their lead defenses.

“Look for existing dust in your home and get it up. Keep your children out of that contact. If you have hardwood floors, wax them. If you’ve got babies crawling around. If you see dust levels, clean them up. Use a two bucket method,” said John Casey, CEO of Greentree Environmental Services, Inc.

Water protectors, environmental consultants, and homeowners all have the same goal.

“As long as we can stop one kid from getting lead poison, then it’s worth my time,” said Casey.

You can pick up some lead paint tests at stores like Home Depot at three for $10.

For more information on how to protect your home, check out Greentree’s website.

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