HOW CAN I REDUCE MY EXPOSURE TO CONTAMINANTS IN SOIL?
What is soil contamination?
Soil contamination occurs when hazardous chemicals are buried or spilled or have migrated into uncontaminated soil. Contamination can take place during improper disposal of hazardous chemicals, during the application of pesticides and fertilizers, or through chemical and industrial processes. Additionally, these substances may be deposited if contaminated water washes through an area or if particles from industrial smokestacks fall from the air and combine with the soil.
How can I be exposed to contaminants in soil?
People can be exposed by breathing contaminated dust, swallowing or touching contaminated soil, and eating food grown in contaminated soil. Children who live and play in a contaminated area are at an increased risk of exposure. Preschool-age children are more likely to be exposed because of their frequent hand-to-mouth activity. Dust from contaminated soil can be tracked into the house on shoes and can end up on indoor surfaces and toys.
What can I do to reduce or prevent exposure to contaminants in soil?
If there is contaminated soil around your home, you should take the following measures to protect your family from exposure:
1) Practice good personal hygiene habits.
2) Practice good housekeeping techniques.
3) Create barriers to contaminated soil.
4) Minimize potential exposure during outdoor activities.
Where can I get more information?
Illinois Department of Public Health
This fact sheet was supported in part by funds from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Trust Fund through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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