University of Vermont

2013 Governor's Institute on Environmental Science and Technology

2013 GIV eSAT Soil Team

Our Challenge

Our goal this week is to understand how and where human activity has impacted soil around the UVM campus and in Burlington. We have a variety of chemical , physical and hydrological tools that we can use for our work. We will also investigate landscape history to better understand what happened and where it happened over the last few centuries as Burlington was transformed from forest to the thriving urban center it is today.

Click here to see the soil team's mission.

Lead in Soil

The US EPA Final Rule on lead established a soil lead hazard at 400 parts per million (ppm) for bare soil in play areas and an average of 1200ppm for bare soil in the remainder of the yard (Federal Register, 2001). They estimated that 1–5% of children exposed to soil lead concentrations at levels generally at or below 500 ppm would, as a result, develop a blood lead level at or above 10 mg/dL (Federal Register, 1998). The risk was estimated to be much greater for exposure to soil lead at a concentration of 1200 ppm; at that level 30–60% of exposed children would have a blood lead level at or above 10 mg/dL (Federal Register, 2001). Lead contamination of soil in US cities occurred over many decades, with sources of lead from paint, gasoline,and industry contributing to the lead burden (CDC, 1991). Lead is relatively immobile in soil (USEPA, 1986a) and does not biodegrade or decay. It is unevenly distributed in residential yards, with higher levels generally found near building foundations (USEPA, 1993).Because of its invisible and lasting nature, contamination of residential yards will continue to threaten children’s health, even after interior and exterior building lead hazards have been repaired. (from Binns et al., 2004)

What was lead used for? click here to find out.

See a great summary about lead and its effects from the US EPA by clicking here.

See State of Vermont lead information by clicking here.

Read City of Burlington lead information by clicking here.

See how to keep a "lead healthy" yard by clicking here.

See the State of Vermont 2011 report on children and lead levels clicking here.

See the relationship between lead added to gasoline and blood lead levels in the United States by clicking here.

Last modified April 27 2013 06:11 AM

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