7 Children Have Elevated Lead Levels After Living Near Former Smelter Site

September 11, 2015
Photo: Old Bojon Town Colorado Smelter
The Old Colorado Smelter in southeast Pueblo operated for many years until it closed in 1908. 

In total, 135 people considered most at risk for exposure to lead had their blood drawn two years ago. That included seven children, who were later found to have elevated levels of lead exposure. The report notes that even low levels of lead could cause serious health problems in children.

David Dorian, regional representative for the ATSDR, acknowledges the timing may have affected the results, as children play more outside in the summer.

"Blood lead has a half life of roughly 60 days so ideally we would have been there about a month earlier and it might have given us some slightly higher results but we just don’t know that," he said.

Elevated levels of arsenic were not found in urine samples. Public meetings about the testing results will be held later this month. Meanwhile pilot soil sampling done at 12 properties in the area showed half with high levels of lead and mid range levels in the others.

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