Lead contamination in LA housing project said to put 300 kids at risk

Jordan Downs residents fear wider impact of planned demolition in former industrial site but lead contamination is only one part of toxic puzzle.

News Story (California)

Daniel Ross
October 1, 2016

Tags: Housing: Discrimination, Lead Poisoning

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)


The US housing and urban development secretary recently proposed lowering the level of lead that must be detected in children’s blood before triggering federal cleanup action. The proposal would affect an estimated 2.9m subsidized and public housing units built before the country’s 1978 ban on residential lead paint.

For decades, the former industrial site in Jordan Downs hosted a steel mill and later a truck and storage repair facility, before the housing authority purchased the site in 2008 to begin a billion-dollar redevelopment project to transform the existing homes into 1,800 mixed-income units. In 2011, lead was detected there at levels as high as 22,000 parts per million (ppm). The residential soil lead threshold for cleanup in California is 80 ppm.