During a hearing today on lead poisoning by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) raised concerns about the risks posed by lead-contaminated soil around more than 230 old lead smelter sites featured in USA TODAY's "Ghost Factories" investigation.
Calling the newspaper's series a "sobering report that puts this crisis in perspective," Lautenberg highlighted a former smelter site in Carteret, N.J., where the government oversaw a cleanup of the factory's property after it closed decades ago. But regulators never tested a nearby neighborhood to see if it was contaminated. USA TODAY's tests recently found dangerous levels of lead in soil.
"It means over multiple administrations of both parties we've failed to protect these families whose lives and futures hang in the balance," Lautenberg said. An EPA official at the hearing said the agency is looking into the issues.
Read the full USA TODAY report about the hearing: EPA, CDC officials testify to Senate on child lead poisoning
Lautenberg's concerns join those of six other U.S. senators who sent a letter in May to the EPA calling on the agency to take "immediate action" to review unassessed sites featured in the USA TODAY series. Senators call for EPA inquiry into lead factory sites