Children living near ASARCO copper smelter found to have high levels of lead

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

An investigation conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) found that children living around the ASARCO smelter in Hayden have higher levels of lead than the average child in other areas. 

In 2015, ATSDR worked with several federal and state agencies to test 83 people in 29 households in Hayden and Winkelman.

The agency narrowed the test to women and children. They took blood and urine samples to help test for lead and arsenic. It concluded that children and adolescents had lead levels to be two times higher than the average. 

However, when they tested for arsenic levels, the results were inconclusive because the sweltering plant wasn't running during the test and experts said arsenic can leave the body much faster than lead.

The Asarco Hayden Smelter Plant is located in the small towns of Hayden and Winkelman.  

For decades the plant has caused environmental contamination of the towns.  

The EPA along with the ADEQ and ASARCO have been cleaning up the contamination in the superfund site.

Starting in 2008 and ending in 2014, the EPA removed contaminated soil from 266 yards in both towns.

We tried to reach ASARCO for comment about the new findings, but haven't heard back.

[PDF: Summary of Findings]

[PDF: Exposure Investigation Report]

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family