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CDC 24/7 - Saving Money Through Prevention - Utah's Success

Reducing exposure to lead

Small plants protruding from rich soil

What is the problem?

The Eureka Valley was heavily mined from the 1870s to 1965. Several large mine waste rock piles are located on the south side of the town of Eureka, close to homes and businesses. Mining activity and housing construction spread mine waste throughout the town. The mine waste exposed many residents to lead from the Eureka Mills Superfund site.

What did Tracking do?

Blood lead data available in the Utah Tracking Network showed highly elevated blood lead levels in children in Eureka. Soil sampling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality also showed elevated levels of lead in soil in this community. These data resulted in an emergency cleanup of the area.

Improved public health

During the cleanup period, the Health Hazard Assessment team (HHA) and the Blood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program conducted free quarterly blood lead testing and provided education to the community. Since cleanup began, fewer children have shown signs of elevated blood lead levels. Now blood lead testing frequency has been reduced from every three months to once a year. The Utah Tracking Program with the Central Utah Public Health Department, Utah Department of Health, and the HHA team will continue blood lead testing for children living in Eureka until 2013.