Burlington Soil Lead Levels Soil Sleuths: Sage Miyake ∞ Kelsey Poljacik ∞ Mary Fafard Randy Stearns ∞ Mariah Schneider Ben Dillner ∞ Kim Haab ∞ Sophie White ∞ Cody Cone Laura Dickinson ∞ Scott Wheeler
What is Lead? • Element 82: Pb • A soft, malleable and corrosion-resistant metal • Once used extensively in paint, gasoline and piping • Now used for x-ray shielding and protection
Hazardous Effects of Lead • In excess, lead can be extremely toxic • Children can suffer from: • Nervous system and brain damage • Learning problems • Stunted growth • Adults can suffer from: • Reproductive problems • High blood pressure and hypertension
How Much Lead is Safe? • For soil with 150 ppmtreatment isn’t necessary. • Soil with 150-400 ppmlead is allowed, however unsafe • Between 400-1200 ppm should be blocked off and new soil or mulch should be added on top of the contaminated area. • Any level above 1200 ppm is highly dangerous, and the Vermont Department of Health should be contacted for further treatment.
Methods For some areas, we took scaled core samples to test the variation in lead content according to depth. However, for the majority of our samples, we tested the top soil as that interacts with the environment most.
Sampling • Parks • Playgrounds • Old Buildings • Newer Buildings • Paint • Exposed Soil • Homes • Roadside • Gardens • Street Dirt
Procedure • Collected our samples • Found the pH of each sample • Made observations and wrote descriptions of each • Used the XRF machine to determine the elemental composition of the soils
Mapping Transect Soil Samples at Fleming Museum
Conclusions From Our Data • Lead is more prominent in populated areas • Areas closest to old buildings have the highest lead levels and are of the most concern • Playground areas with lead contamination need attention now!
Solutions Although lead can be useful in a variety of ways, many issues concerning lead are pressing and need to be dealt with properly. • Safety Precautions: • Keep children away from contaminated areas • Cover eroded soil with mulch or fresh soil • Properly remove leaded paint and apply safe paint • Keep play areas and gardens away from home drip-zones • Park cars in driveways, not on lawns • Discontinue the use of lead weights on cars