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Historical records used to identify forgotten lead smelter

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is opening an investigation of possible lead contamination in an Atlanta neighborhood after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution unearthed old documents showing that a lead smelter spewed lead dust over the area for decades. Old smelting industry directories, property records and mothballed regulatory files were used to identify the old Evans Metal Co. smelter. The lead dust likely built up in the soil of surrounding properties and would remain near the surface despite the passage of decades, experts said. Soil contamination can pose a serious health threat, particularly to young children who put dirty hands and toys in their mouths.

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