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CDC 24/7 - Saving Lives - Massachusetts's Success

Collaborating with federal agencies to improve public health

Small plants protruding from rich soil

What is the problem?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) asked the Massachusetts Tracking Program to evaluate lead levels in surface soil at the former Agawam Sportsman Club site. EPA wanted to find out whether the amount of lead in the soil posed a risk to young children or to others who used the area. High amounts of lead in surface soil can pose serious health concerns if exposures occur, especially to young children.

What did Tracking do?

The Massachusetts Tracking Program evaluated surface soil sampling results for the site. The tracking program also looked at available data on blood lead levels (BLLs) in children who lived or had lived near the site. Lead was detected in the soil in amounts higher than EPA screening levels. But, the actual BLLs among the tested children were low. The tracking program also found that the number of cases of high BLLs in the area of the former sportsmen's club was similar to other parts of the town.

Improved public health

Though BLLs among children living near the site were not as high as expected, the EPA took action to reduce possible contact with the contaminated soil. Specifically, the EPA removed soil where needed and installed soil-erosion control devices next to a nearby stream.