Lucas Masin-Moyer | April 28, 2017
Flint, Michigan, and South Bend, Indiana, have a lot in common — both are post-industrial Midwestern cities with about 100,000 people, and both have a lead problem.
In order to help deal with the lead problem in South Bend, sophomores Brittany Margritz and Alex Bonino volunteered for “Get the Lead Out,” an event meant to raise awareness in the community about the problem and the opportunities for free testing.
Margritz said she and Bonino were made aware of the event through an engineering class they were both taking.
“We’re in a class called ‘Community-Based Engineering Design Projects,’ and we were tasked with designing a local project in the South Bend community, and our professor told us that … one of them was involvement in the lead project, and we decided that would be the best,” she said.
Knowing the extent of the lead problem, discovered after a 10-year study done by Reuters, motivated Bonino to go out and inform the community on problems and possible solutions, he said.
“So people are upset with what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, when there’s higher levels here in St. Joseph’s County,” Bonino said. “ … The northwest of South Bend and the area [has found] 31 percent of the children tested over that time span had lead levels that were above the CDC recommendations where action needs to be taken. [This] was the highest percentage in all of Indiana.”
This study, Margritz said, revealed some unexpectedly high numbers of children testing positive for lead.