Lead found in most paint chips after Bloomington house fire

November 11, 2021 GMT

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Testing has detected lead in most of the paint chips that fell to the ground in southern Indiana when a house was burned for a firefighter training exercise, an Indiana University professor says.

Gabriel Filippelli, a biogeochemist who is director of IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute, said “nearly all” the paint chips brought to his laboratory tested positive for lead-based paint.

“This includes even sites well away from the fire,” he told The Herald-Times via email.

Filippelli said the results are preliminary and full laboratory test results are at least a week away on the debris, which was collected in Bloomington after the Nov. 5 house fire.

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The fire was followed by reports from some city residents of dust and paint chips falling onto their property in the city about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) south of Indianapolis.

Filippelli had previously urged affected residents to hose off horizontal surfaces to protect children from exposure to lead, which is a hazardous heavy metal.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says even low levels of lead in the blood have been shown to negatively affect a child’s intelligence, ability to pay attention and academic achievement.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said the Bloomington Fire Department is addressing the issue and the city has established a website, bloomington.in.gov/bfdburninfo, to provide updates and cleanup instructions.