EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (CBS/AP) — Demolition workers have begun tearing down a public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana, as part of a cleanup of a site contaminated with lead and arsenic.

More than 1,000 people were forced to abandon their homes at the West Calumet Housing Complex in 2016, after high lead and arsenic levels were discovered in the soil, and some children were discovered to have high lead levels in their blood. At least half of the homes in the complex were contaminated.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has said all buildings, foundations, streets, and sidewalks at the complex will be demolished.

Amereco Engineering senior environmental manager Jeff Rugg said air monitors have been set up around the site to watch for coarse particulate matter, lead, and arsenic.

The complex was built on a site previously occupied by a lead-products factory. Lead exposure can cause nervous system damage and lowered IQs.

Demolition is expected to be complete in August.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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