WATCH: In East Chicago, Residents Can’t Drink Their Water or Play Outside

By Yessenia Funes Jun 27, 2017

The Atlantic released a video yesterday (June 26) that focuses on the lead crisis in East Chicago, Indiana.

People are most familiar with what’s happening to the water in Flint, Michigan, but the mostly Black and Hispanic residents of the West Calumet Public Housing Complex in the Indiana neighborhood aren’t faring much better. Their soil and water contain lead levels hundreds of times above what the EPA deems safe.

Residents were supposed to evacuate from the public housing complex by March 31, 2017, reports The New York Times, so that the federal agency could demolish the building and properly clean up the soil—a move the agency failed to do when the soil was originally contaminated back in 1985 after the United States Smelter and Lead Refinery closed. It wasn’t until 2009 that the agency took action.

Demetra Turner is still living at the unit. She moved there just last year in May. A month later, the EPA informed her and neighbors that their soil and water was contaminated with lead and arsenic. Turner spends at least $300-400 a month on water. She uses it for cooking, bathing, cleaning, everything.

“You know I know that I can’t stay here,” she says in the video. “And who would want to stay here with everything that’s going on now? But the only thing that I’m asking is allow me to find somewhere to go one, and allow my kids to finish school. I am afraid that I’m going to be evicted.”

The city has provided the housing complex residents with section 8 housing vouchers, but Turner, at least, has had trouble finding an apartment that accepts the voucher. 

Watch the full video above or with the accompanying story here.