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U.S. EPA to offer free soil tests in Cleveland Saturday

Children can encounter lead in contaminated soil, paint, water and dust.
Children can encounter lead in contaminated soil, paint, water and dust.

The U.S. EPA will offer free lead soil tests in Cleveland on Saturday, according to the Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing.

The testing will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Concerned Citizens Community Council, 13611 Kinsman Rd.

Lead exposure can cause a decrease in learning, memory and verbal ability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also impair speech and hearing functions, lower IQ and lead to early signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The effects are not reversible.

Cleveland is at the center of the public health crisis caused by lead exposure. Lead poisoning rates in the city are nearly four times the national average, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Toxic hazards in soil can come from several areas. Lead particles may originate from leaking abandoned vehicles, abandoned houses that used lead paint, remnants in soil of exhaust from leaded gasoline, emissions from factories that could travel miles or even remnants of demolished houses, according to the media release from CLASH.

The steps for collecting a sample for testing are:

1: Identify an area of interest (garden or play area) for your soil sample.

2: Collect Soil - For a large area, collect soil from five to 10 random spots and combine it in a clean container. For a small area, collect soil from three random spots.

For a garden site, collect soil from the surface down to six to eight inches deep

For a play area, collect all soil from the surface down to one to two inches deep

3: Mix soil well in a clean container

4: Remove pebbles, rocks and roots, and let the sample dry in the air. Do not use a flame, oven or hairdryer to dry the soil.

5: Transfer one to two cups of the mixed soil into a clean one-quart Ziplock bag. Label each bag with the source of the soil: location and type of area.

Those interested should bring soil samples to the Concerned Citizens Community Council located at 13611 Kinsman.

Grace Springer is a journalism student at Kent State University. She is the General Assignment Editor for KentWired and covers executive administration for student media.