"How To Investigate Toxic Lead Lurking In Your Community’s Soil"

"New resources from the Center for Public Integrity and Grist aim to teach residents and reporters how to conduct their own research."

"Lead poisoning is often treated as if it’s a problem of the past. But its harmful legacy lingers today, particularly in the soil of urban centers across the United States.

One in every two American children under the age of 6 tested between late 2018 and early 2020 had detectable levels of lead in their blood. Studies show soil exposure is a major reason.

The lead pumped out of exhaust pipes and industrial smokestacks decades ago can still be found in soil. Lead paint used extensively throughout the first half of the 20th century remains on the interior and exterior walls of many homes, degrading to chips and dust that also end up in soil. And although the U.S. began phasing out lead in automobile gasoline and consumer paint in the 1970s, new lead pollution continues to be dumped on communities every year from industrial sites and the aviation gas used by small aircraft.

Yet while the threat of lead exposure via paint and water is well documented, soils aren’t systematically tested and mapped to prevent exposure to this invisible neurotoxin.

The Center for Public Integrity and Grist have created a toolkit to help fill these information gaps and arm journalists and community members with the skills needed to do their own testing and analysis. The detailed guide walks readers through how to test the soil, map their results and investigate potential sources, both present and past."

Yvette Cabrera reports for Grist April 22, 2024.

Source: Grist, 04/29/2024