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After devastating tornado, Joplin now faces lead contamination worries, too

JoplinTornadoUPITom_Uhlenbrock_May_24_damage_car_overturned.jpg
(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)
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Damage from the May 22 tornado that swept through Joplin, Mo. is pictured here on May 24.

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.

The Kansas City Star reports that Joplin officials say the lead contamination has been re-exposed on about 1,500 properties in damaged areas. The city told the Environmental Protection Agency that the high lead levels in the disrupted areas could be a significant liability issue for Joplin, and a safety hazard for the city.

The city has also stopped issuing building permits for some highly contaminated properties in heavily damaged areas until the contamination has been cleaned up.

Lead contamination has long been an issue in Joplin because of abandoned lead mines.

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