The Elephant in the Playground: Confronting Lead-Contaminated Soils as an Important Source of Lead Burdens to Urban Populations
Abstract

Abstract:

Although significant headway has been made over the past 50 years in understanding and reducing the sources and health risks of lead, the incidence of lead poisoning remains shockingly high in urban regions of the United States. At particular risk are poor people who inhabit the polluted centers of our older cities without the benefits of adequate nutrition, education, and access to health care. To provide a future with fewer environmental and health burdens related to lead, we need to consider the multiple pathways of lead exposure in children, including their continued contact with dust derived from inner-city soils. Recent research into the causes of seasonal variations in blood-lead levels among children has confirmed the importance of soil in lead exposure. "Capping" lead-contaminated soil with lead-free soil or soil amendment appears to be a simple and cost-effective way to reduce the lead load for urban youth.