Soil, Yards and Playgrounds - Testing
Lead is naturally-occurring, and it can be found in high concentrations in some areas. In addition, soil, yards and playgrounds can become contaminated when exterior lead-based paint from houses or buildings that flakes or peels and gets into the soil. Soil may also be contaminated from past use of leaded gasoline in cars, from industrial sources, or even from contaminated sites, including former lead smelters.
Lead in soil can be ingested as a result of hand-to-mouth activity that is common for young children and from eating vegetables that may have taken up lead from soil in the garden. Lead in soil may also be inhaled if resuspended in the air, or tracked into your house thereby spreading the contamination.
Check the exterior of your home, including porches and fences, for flaking or deteriorating lead-based paint that may contaminate soil in your yard or be tracked into your house. To avoid tracking contaminated soil into your house, put doormats outside and inside all entryways, and remove your shoes before entering.
To reduce exposure to lead and potential for lead poisoning, after playing or working outdoors, EPA recommends that children and adults leave their shoes at the door or use door mats, and wash their hands. To keep children from playing in soil near your home, plant bushes close to the house.
Also, older playground equipment can still contain old lead-based paint, and artificial turf and playground surfaces made from shredded rubber can contain lead. Take precautions to ensure young children do not eat shredded rubber, or put their hands in their mouth before washing them. Read more on playgrounds and artificial turf fields.
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