Heavy metals such as lead are naturally found in soil. Other sources include industrial and mining sites, living near major highways, and homes built before 1978 with chipping or peeling paint. Children under age 3 and pregnant people are at the highest risk of health impacts from lead exposure. The historic Five Points neighborhood is one of Denver's most diverse and disproportionally impacted communities. In collaboration with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Denver Chapter, the Colorado Appletree Program (CO-AP), Colorado Tracking co-hosted a soilSHOP (soil screening, health, outreach, and partnership) with the Environmental Justice Unit (EJ) on October 1st, 2022 in response to requests from the community and farmers markets in the area.
What was CO Tracking’s role?
Colorado Tracking developed and distributed flyers to libraries and recreation centers, local farmers markets, and advertised on social media, and worked with NAACP to promote the soilSHOP event. Colorado Tracking invited federal partners at ATSDR, EPA and PEHSU to help promote health education, lead prevention and medical expertise at the event.
What product or output came from CO Tracking’s role?
Soil Screening, Health, Outreach, and Partnership (soilSHOP) events provide community members with free lead screening of soil gathered from their gardens or outdoor play area(s). Through soilSHOPs, ATSDR and partner organizations like Colorado Tracking provide health education and outreach to help people learn if their soil is contaminated and how to reduce exposures.
What action or decision was taken to resolve the problem?
The soilSHOP provided targeted outreach & health education material that explains how to garden safely and reduce exposure from lead in soil.
What was the outcome of this action or decision?
A total of 9 people brought in their soil to get it screened and received health education and guidance from state, local, and federal partners. The soilSHOP was also able to increase awareness of soil as a potential exposure for lead and provided health education on how to reduce that exposure for ~50 people attending the farmers market.
Quantify the impact or the resulting action
Lead is naturally present in soil. A major cause of soil lead contamination is in areas near major highways, contamination sites, industries, and homes built before 1978 with chipping and flaking paint. Lead poisoning is preventable through blood lead screening and providing at-risk populations health education on the many ways you can reduce exposure. Tracking's partnerships with CO-AP and EJ are vital in providing disproportionally impacted communities with outreach and education on how to reduce exposure from lead in their soil.
ATSDR soilSHOP: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/soilshop/index.html
CO Tracking lead poisoning data: https://coepht.colorado.gov/childhood-lead-poisoning-data