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Soil Contamination: Does it Exist Near You?

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Published on Nov 8, 2013

Today, there are many places across the country have been identified as Superfund sites. Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. These sites can be found in all types of areas, from heavily congested cities to rural regions.

Many people live and work near these Superfund sites and have health concerns over being so close to a place with known hazardous substances. Many others may also have soil contamination issues near their homes, but are unaware of the situation.

Soil contamination results when hazardous substances are either spilled or buried directly in the soil or migrate to the soil from another area. For example, old lead-based paints or asbestos containing building materials can settle into areas around a home where children play. Another source of soil contamination could be water that washes contamination from an area containing hazardous substances and deposits the contamination in the soil as it flows over or through it.

Soil contamination is either solid or liquid hazardous substances mixed with the naturally occurring soil. Usually, contaminants in the soil are physically or chemically attached to soil particles, or, if they are not attached, are trapped in the small spaces between soil particles.

Contaminants in the soil can not only hurt plants when they attempt to grow, but can also adversely impact the health of animals and humans when they ingest, inhale, or touch contaminated soil, or when they eat plants or animals that have themselves been affected by soil contamination.

Humans can ingest and come into contact with contaminants when they play in contaminated soil or dig in the soil as part of their work. Certain contaminants, when they contact skin, are even absorbed into the body. When contaminants are attached to small surface soil particles they can become airborne as dust and then be inhaled.

These are just a few things to know about soil contamination issues, to learn more about these or other health and safety, indoor air quality, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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