Some Chicago homes have elevated lead levels in water, tests show

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CHICAGO — The city of Chicago announced Thursday the results of tests on a sampling of homes that had water meters installed.

Out of a sampling of just under 300 homes with water meters, city testing found nearly 20 percent had high levels of lead.

At a news conference,  Water Commissioner Randy Conner said the city knew about the elevated lead levels back in June.

“At the time we were still getting the data in and taking a look at it,” Conner said. “(We were working) to come up with a decision on how we were going to approach the situation.”

The CDC said there is no safe level of lead exposure.

But the city’s health commissioner Dr. Julie Morita said people should not panic and cited a decline in the number of children with high levels of lead in their blood.

“This is a significant number of children.  Progress has been dramatic,” she said.

City officials announced Thursday a study will look at the feasibility and framework for a multi-billion program to potentially replace lead service lines.

The study won’t be complete until the spring. The city plans to continue installing water meters and will provide free filters to metered homes.

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