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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Releases Findings for Omaha Lead Site

Douglas County, Omaha, Nebraska

Monday, May 09, 2005

ATLANTA - Ongoing exposure to lead in children 6 years of age and younger living in or near the Omaha Lead site in Douglas County, Neb., is a public health hazard, says the public health assessment released by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

ATSDR conducted a health assessment to evaluate the possible public health impacts of lead at the site. The assessment includes agency findings and recommendations for clean-up and future lead poisoning prevention. On the basis of an evaluation of available site information and sampling data, general findings conclude that:

  • The ongoing exposure to lead for children 6 years old and younger living in or near the site is a serious public health problem. Review of data from July 2000 through 2003 indicate that 484 children in or near the site had blood lead levels of 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or greater. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blood lead level of concern is 10 µg/dL.
  • The main sources of lead are lead-based paint and soil contaminated with lead emitted from the operation of the American Smelting and Refining Co.
  • Public health actions should be created and implemented to address lead exposure to children in and around the site. These actions should work to increase the percentage of children 6 years and younger that receive annual blood lead testing. There should also continue to be a strong focus on primary prevention; for example, making homes lead-safe through remediating lead-contaminated soil and/or proper removal of lead-based paint. Continued remediation of contaminated soil by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is protective of public health.

The assessment is available online at and in the following locations:

W. Dale Clark Library
215 South 15th Street
Omaha, NE

Omaha Public Library
2302 M Street
Omaha, NE

Washington Branch
Omaha Public Library
2868 Ames Ave.
Omaha, NE

For more information, community members may contact Health Communications Specialist Youlanda Outin or Environmental Health Scientist Annmarie DePasquale, toll-free, at 1-888-422-8737. ATSDR Regional Representative Sue Casteel also may be contacted at 913-551-1312. ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances. Established by Congress in 1980 under the Superfund law, ATSDR conducts public health assessments at each of the sites on the EPA National Priorities List, as well as other sites when petitioned.

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Related PHA & HC For this Press Release

Omaha Lead
-Cancer Incidence Rates 1990 - 2001
Document Date: 7/13/2005 - HC  [PDF - 87 KB]

Omaha Lead
Document Date: 4/28/2005 - PHA  [PDF - 1014 KB]

Omaha Lead Refinery
-Public Comment Release
Document Date: 6/7/2004 - PHA  [PDF - 602 KB]

Omaha Lead Refinery Site
-Evaluation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Soil Excavation
Document Date: 6/2/2004 - HC  [PDF - 96 KB]

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Related News Releases For Douglas County, Omaha, Nebraska


ATSDR Finds Arsenic in Some East Omaha Yards
Release Date: Monday, November 07, 2005
Elevated levels of arsenic were found at more than 700 properties in East Omaha, Neb., says a report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). High levels of arsenic might pose a health concern for some children and adults.

ATSDR Releases Cancer Data Review for Omaha Lead Site
Release Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will release its Cancer Data Review tomorrow at the Omaha Lead Site Community Advisory Group (OLS CAG) meeting. The review found that, in some cases, the rates of new cancer cases in the Omaha Lead Site differ from new cancer rates in Douglas County and Nebraska.

Former Western Minerals Products Employees Exposed to Asbestos; ATSDR Releases Public Health Consultation
Release Date: Friday, October 29, 2004
Employees at Western Minerals Products site in Omaha, Neb., from the 1940s to 1989 were exposed to asbestos at levels that exceeded workplace health standards, says a public health consultation released by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Those who lived with former workers also were potentially exposed to asbestos.

Omaha Lead Refinery Site Health Assessment in Nebraska
Release Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2004
A public availability session will be held in Omaha, Neb., to discuss the public health assessment (PHA) on the Omaha Lead Refinery site in Omaha, Neb. ATSDR recently issued the PHA for public review and comment. The agency finds the exposure to lead by children under 6 who live in or near the site puts them at risk of lead-related health effects

ATSDR Releases Public Health Assessment Concerning Lead for the Omaha Lead Site, Omaha, Neb.
Release Date: Monday, June 07, 2004
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today is issuing for public review and comment a public health assessment for the Omaha Lead site, Omaha, Neb. The site is on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) and ATSDR is required by Congress to conduct public health assessments on all sites proposed to the NPL. The public health assessment was completed to evaluate whether past, current, or future exposures at the Omaha Lead Site are causing harm to persons living in or near the site.

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