Public Health (IDPH) conducted blood lead screenings of subdivision residents.
Increased lead exposure and absorption would have resulted in elevated levels of
lead in the blood. The blood lead screenings showed no abnormally high levels of
lead in the blood of local residents.
How can lead
Lead levels near the smelter may pose a health hazard, particularly to children, if
ingested or inhaled in sufficient quantities. Individuals can be exposed to lead by
breathing contaminated dust, by swallowing contaminated soil, and by eating
unwashed food that was grown in contaminated soil.
Exposure to contaminated soil is more dangerous to young children because of
their frequent hand-to-mouth activity and their increased susceptibility to lead.
Dust from contaminated soil can be tracked into the house on shoes and can end
up on indoor surfaces and toys.
Lead can affect almost every organ and system in the human body. The area of
the body that is the most sensitive to lead is the central nervous system,
particularly in children. Unborn children can also be exposed to lead through their
mothers. Harmful effects include premature births, smaller babies, decreased
mental ability in infants, learning difficulties, and reduced growth in young
children. These effects are more common after exposure to high levels of lead.
How can I
lead in the soil?
If lead contaminated soil exists around your home, you should take the following
measures to protect your family from exposure:
1. Practice good hygiene habits.
Wash children’s hands and faces frequently, especially before eating and
bed time. Keep their fingernails clean and short. Adults should wash their
hands before feeding their children, smoking, eating or drinking. Discourage
children from placing fingers and non-food items in their mouths. Frequently
clean toys or objects that children put in their mouths.
2. Practice good housekeeping techniques.
Remove your shoes upon entering your home to prevent tracking
contaminated soil inside. Store your outdoor shoes at entryways.
Vacuum your carpeting, rugs and upholstery often. Regular vacuuming will
keep dust from accumulating.
3. Create barriers to contaminated soil.
Removing debris, turning over the soil, sodding, covering with plastic or
cement or excavating and disposing of contaminated soil will reduce
exposure. The area should be kept moist while working with the soil to
reduce dust formation. Ensure that the new soil is not contaminated. Do not
disturb contaminated soil on windy days or when children or pregnant
women are present.
Keep windows closed on windy days, at least on the windward side of the
house. This will help to keep dust from being blown inside. Fences, bushes
and grass help reduce the dispersion of contaminated soil. Thoroughly wash
garden vegetables before eating them.
4. Don’t let children play or dig in contaminated soil.
Build a sandbox with a bottom and fill it with clean sand to provide children
with a safe play area.
5. Don’t let children play or dig in potentially contaminated sediments.
Do not allow children to play in the mud or sediments in drainage ways, in
Pine Lake or in the Unnamed Pond located east of the Pine Lake Road cul-de-
How can I find
out if my child
Based on the lead levels in the soil near the former St. Louis Smelting and
Refining Company property, IDPH is recommending that all children six years old
and younger that live or spend much of their time in the area have their blood
tested for lead. All homes near and within the former company property have
been sent a letter with this recommendation.
Fact Sheet #3 - St. Louis Smelting And Refining Page 2 of 3
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