South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says lead problem in neighborhood not caused by water

(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

Elevated lead levels found in a South Bend neighborhood recently aren’t caused by drinking water.

That’s according to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who spoke about the problem in the city’s near northwest neighborhood Tuesday. 31 percent of children tested in the neighborhood had elevated lead levels, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Buttigieg says lead paint chips and dust from old homes are causing the lead problems in the neighborhood, while confirming the city has quality drinking water. He says many in the neighborhood can’t afford to renovate their homes.

Children that have elevated lead levels in their blood can develop cognitive development problems. Over 20-percent of children in two neighboring tracts have elevated lead levels.

Buttigieg encouraged parents in the near northwest neighborhood to get lead testing done. Free testing is available at the St. Joseph County Health Department.

As for the existing lead problem, Buttigieg says there’s no grant funding available to renovate homes with lead paint. However, he’s still looking at other federal funding avenues.

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