KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new study through K-State and a researcher at the university could help reduce the possibility of lead ending up in the soil around homes and vacant lots. That means it could also lower the risk of lead exposure to people living near those locations.
Ganga Hettiarachchi is a professor of soil and environmental chemistry at Kansas State University. She received a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
She plans to use the grant to research neighborhoods and Brownfield sites around Kansas City to look for possible lead contamination. The study will then look at the impact the contamination has on children under the age of 6 years old.
According to the K-State Research and Extension office and the Centers for Disease Control, even low levels of lead can cause damage the longer someone is exposed to it.
The most common sources of exposure in the United States is lead-based paint and contaminated dust, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. They said soil becomes contaminated from the natural weathering of exterior-based paint from houses and buildings built before 1978. Lead-based paint wasn’t banned until that date.
If you are concerned about the possibility of being exposed to lead, the Kansas City Health Department offers free lead testing for children.
The health department warns that children an absorb lead from simply playing in the dirt, breathing or swallowing paint dust or chips.
Call the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department at (816) 513-6048 to schedule a test.
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