Before it was banned in 1978, lead paint was commonly used in homes. In St. Louis City, which is dominated by older housing stock, lead contamination is still prevalent.
Abby Lanes | Flickr

Inspectors from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are in St. Louis for the next few months, making sure that contractors are following federal lead paint laws. Businesses with employees that do renovation, repair or painting work must ensure they are federally trained and certified. If they're not, companies could be fined up to $37,500 a day for each violation.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis and St. Louis County will be able to increase efforts to reduce the number of children in the region exposed to lead, thanks to grants donated Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The city and county both received 2.5 million dollars from HUD, although $100,000 of the county’s grant is ear-marked for a separate initiative.

According to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, the city’s grant will be primarily used to preemptively make 180 rental units safe from lead.

The Doe Run Company

A lead mining company is heading to trial next month, but this week, they’re hoping to hedge their bet.

The Missouri legislature passed a bill earlier this year that would limit the amount of damages the Doe Run Company would have to pay if a jury found the company guilty of negligence. Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill, but Republican lawmakers are aiming for an override this week.

Updated 9/13/13 10:33 AM

Doe Run is the largest lead mining company in the western hemisphere, and they operate in southeast Missouri.

(via Flickr/xpda)

The city of Joplin, Mo. is getting an additional boost in an effort to clean up soil contaminated by lead and cadmium that was blown around by the fatal EF-5 tornado in May 2011.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today clean-up methods it will take on a former mining site in Madison County.

The Madison County Mines Superfund site is part of the Old Lead Belt, where the mining of heavy metals began in the 1700s. The nearly 500-square-mile area is contaminated by lead, a highly-toxic metal that can wreak havoc on organs and tissues in the human body.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

New report: "vast improvements" at John Cochran VA Medical Center

A new government report says the John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has made "vast improvements" after an earlier report noted problems.

As KBIA's Jacob Fenston reports, for 25 years, a Herculaneum, Mo. smelter didn't meet federal air standards for lead. Now, after decades of battling government regulators and angry parents, Doe Run is leaving town at the end of next year. Check out Fenston's story via the link below.

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Doe Run announced today that it will not build a new lead processing plant in Herculaneum.

In 2010, the largest lead producer in North America announced it would close its existing lead smelter in Herculaneum by the end of 2013.

The company had proposed to build a new facility there that would use new technology to reduce emissions of air pollutants including lead and sulfur dioxide.

But now Doe Run says that won’t happen.

Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a consent decree to address environmental violations at Doe Run’s Sweetwater Mine and Mill in Reynolds County.

Here's a map detailing the approximate location of the mine near Ellington, Mo.:

(via EPA.gov)

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to test 256 Jefferson County residential properties amid concerns that lead in the Big River is contaminating soil.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that testing is expected to be completed by midsummer. Recent studies and samples indicated widespread lead contamination in the flood plain that extends from Leadwood in St. Francois County to the confluence with the Meramec River near Eureka.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The federal Environmental Protection Agency will provide the city of Joplin, Mo. with $500,000 to help test and clean up lead-contaminated soils that were exposed by the May 22 tornado that devastated the city.

The money from the Superfund program will allow the city to hire one full-time and one part-time person to coordinate a soil testing and remediation plan. The funds will also pay for a vehicle, equipment, supplies and travel expenses.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The May tornado that hit Joplin, wiping out a big portion of the southwest Missouri city and killing 162 people, also left lead contamination that could cost up to $7.5 million to clean up.

(Image courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency)

The Environmental Protection Agency is fining Washington University for failing to tell tenants about lead paint hazards in some of its married student housing units. The violation will cost the university close to $28,000.

The civil settlement involves three rental apartments northeast of Washington University’s Danforth campus.

The consent agreement says that between 2008 and 2010, the university failed to tell student tenants about previous citations for lead paint violations from the City of St. Louis Health Department.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Washington County Lead District-Furnace Creek site in Washington County, Missouri, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

The NPL is a list of the nation's hazardous waste sites with the highest priority for cleanup.