Dangerous lead levels revealed in hundreds of Chattanooga properties

(Image: WTVC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) crews have uncovered dangerous lead levels in Chattanooga, leaving parents concerned about their children's safety.

The EPA says of the 770 properties they've sampled in South Chattanooga, 275 of them have dangerous amounts of lead in their soil.

According to EPA spokesperson James Pinkney, 17 homes in Highland Park are four times higher than what’s safe, as of their December 2018 soil sampling.

Crews are cleaning up some of those toxic yards Thursday. Pinkney says the operations are time critical, a key factor being kids' exposure to the contaminants.

Kiley Thomas spoke with some of the Highland Park residents concerned for their safety, and that of their children.

Pinkney says the EPA's next sampling is scheduled for April 29.

Back in October, we investigated the dangers of lead to children. That’s after 5 neighborhoods in Chattanooga were labeled some of the worst waste sites in the nation.

Jefferson Heights, Alton Park, Southside Gardens, Richmond and Cowart Place were put on the EPA’s Superfund National Priority List (NPL). EPA records say sites that pose risks to public health and the environmental qualify. Only sites on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.

EPA records show contamination is caused from by-products from old foundries. A resident in Jefferson Heights told us in October that she discovered this old machinery part when she was digging up her soil.

This is a developing story - depend on us to update you as we learn more.


Health experts say prevention to lead exposure is key. They recommend taking your child to get their blood tested at your physician's office.

Alternative Actions in Chattanooga is accredited to find the source of contamination. They can complete a full service risk assessment and determine how much lead is in your home, soil and more. The baseline cost is between $300 - $400. The company's number is (423) 843-0773.

The Chattanooga - Hamilton County Health Department can also provide services to prevent lead poisoning in children. Their number is (423) 209-8080.

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