Lead Laden Soil "People are worried about water, and they should be, but water is not the main driver of lead poisoning among children.” It’s soil.
In the Steel City, groups like ACCD, DECO Resources, and Grow Pittsburgh have been able to conduct studies on soil lead levels in neighborhood vacant lots using an X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer, also known as the XRF. This handheld machine can test soil for lead and receive results in about 60 seconds. “We affectionately call it the soil ray gun,” said Anthony Stewart, president and environmental director of DECO Resources.
The XRF can be used to test lead levels in soil if the soil is processed properly. With a grant from the Hillman Family Foundation, the ACCD purchased an XRF.
To properly test the soil in a vacant lot for lead, Stewart said the lot is first broken up into areas that are usually 10 square feet and five samples are taken from each section. The soil must then be dried and processed into fine granules before being tested by the XRF. With this level of analysis, Stewart said they have been getting “laboratory grade results.” “We do send out 10 to 15 percent of our samples off to a lab for confirmation, and we are finding that we are spot on,” Stewart said.
Stewart said he would like to see collaboration between the organization and the City so “vetted scientists” would be allowed to access the City’s soil data that is currently internal and private. “It would be incredibly helpful… to use that data to drive policy and decision making,” Stewart said. “That’s kind of where I see the shortcoming right now.” Read the rest @ www.storyburgh.org
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