Mapping Legacy Lead in Urban Soils to Help Improve Children's Health (2019-2020)

In concert with the North Carolina Lead and Healthy Homes Task Force, this Bass Connections project produced the first city soil-lead map in the state. These maps served as tools to identify lead hotspots and guide management of aging construction and new developments. In addition to generating the first soil maps in this region, this study also helped guide city managers in identifying and assessing new sites for greenways, recreational areas and tree planting.

The team sampled urban soils in public spaces, parks, streetside right of ways, and in and around private homes across the city.  They have also mapped Duke University’s East campus using a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer. The team has analyzed nearly 1000 soil samples for lead and other chemicals and can report that although it has been nearly 50 years since lead was phased out of gasoline and fresh paint, the legacy of that lead is still found in the city’s surface soils with highest concentrations around foundations of homes older than 1980, and along streetsides of streets with historically high traffic. The work supports a hypothesis that urban soil lead is decreasing in concentration over the decades but that lead hotspots remain behind because of the chemical immobility of lead in most soils.

Timing

Spring 2019 - Fall 2019

This Team in the News

Summer Research Snapshots 2019

Every City Needs a Soil Lead Map!

 

Image: Contaminated Soil, by Joey Rozier, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Contaminated Soil, by Joey Rozier.

Team Leaders

  • Guerbine Fils-Aime, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Paul Heine, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Heileen Hsu-Kim, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Daniel Richter, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Anna Wade, Nicholas - Environmental Science - PHD

/graduate Team Members

  • Nancy Bao, Master of Environmental Management, Ecotoxicology & Environmental Health
  • Stefan Bugge, Master of Environmental Management, Ecosystem Science and Conservation
  • Xinchen Li, Civil & Environmental Engg-MS
  • Paul Noah, Master of Environmental Management, Ecosystem Science and Conservation
  • Mary Osteen, Master of Environmental Management, Ecotoxicology & Environmental Health
  • Erik Rieger, Master of Environmental Management, Ecosystem Science and Conservation
  • Xu Wang, Civil & Environmental Engg-MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Kevin Tan

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Richard Di Giulio, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Bryan Luukinen, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Joel Meyer, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Heather Stapleton, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy

/zcommunity Team Members

  • North Carolina Lead and Safe Homes Task Force
  • Megan Hughes, UNC Institute for the Environment
  • Ed Norman, Environmental Health Section of the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health

Theme(s):