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One in four US Households likely in violation of new US soil lead standard
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  • Gabriel Filippelli,
  • Matthew J. Dietrich,
  • John shukle,
  • Leah Michael Wood,
  • Andrew J Margenot,
  • S. Perl Egendorf,
  • Howard W. Mielke
Gabriel Filippelli
Indiana University, Indianapolis

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Matthew J. Dietrich
Indiana University, Indianapolis
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John shukle
ZevRoss Spatial Analysis
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Leah Michael Wood
Indiana University, Indianapolis
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Andrew J Margenot
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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S. Perl Egendorf
Pace University
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Howard W. Mielke
Tulane School of Medicine
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Lead exposure has blighted communities across the United States (and the globe), with much of the burden resting on lower income and communities of color. On January 17, 2024, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has, after more than 30 years, lowered the allowable level of lead in residential soils. Our analysis of tens of thousands of citizen-science collected soil samples from cities and communities around the US reveals the scale of the soil lead problem, and the challenge that the USEPA will face in implementing its new soil standard. Under this standard, we find that nearly one quarter of households may contain a soil lead hazard. Extrapolating across the nation, that equates to nearly 30 million households needing to mitigate potential soil lead hazards, at a potential total cost of $290 billion to - $1.2 trillion. We do not think this type of mitigation is feasible at the massive scale required and we have instead focused on a more immediate, far cheaper strategy: capping current soils with clean soils and/or mulch. At a fraction of the cost and labor of disruptive conventional soil mitigation, it yields immediate and potentially life-changing benefits for those living in these environments.
06 Mar 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
15 Mar 2024Published in ESS Open Archive