Housing Authority Selling Items From Contaminated Site

(CBS) — Akeesha Daniels is among the last residents to leave the West Calumet housing complex in East Chicago, Ind.

When she finally heads out, she’s leaving most of her furniture behind.

“All of the dressers, night stands and everything will be left,” she tells CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker. “Because I’m scared it’s all contaminated with lead.”

The EPA found dangerously high levels of lead in Daniels’ home — 32,000 parts per million. They found similar results throughout the complex and deemed it unsafe for residents.

Yet on the East Chicago Housing Authority website, the agency is selling appliances from the units.

Almost everything is for sale “as is”: air-conditioning units, furnaces, refrigerators, stoves, even kitchen sinks, which costs $15 each.

“They’re putting everybody out and they’re demolishing the whole complex. That would make you think everything involved with this complex is contaminated,” Daniels says.

CBS 2 used a simple kit from the hardware store. The results showed no lead contamination on Daniels’ appliances.

Off camera, an employee of the housing authority says appliances will be cleaned before they are sold.

But community organizer Carlyle Edwards is concerned about hard-to-reach places in stoves that might be contaminated with lead.

“What they ought to do is just dispose of them properly,” Edwards says.

The housing authority declined comment.

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