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Fact Sheet 2

Fact Sheet #2

December 1999

Murphysboro, Illinois


The City of Murphysboro, the Illinois EPA, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Jackson County Health Department held two public availability sessions on October 15, 1999 (Friday), at City Hall, 202 North 11`" Street, Murphysboro, Illinois, 62966. Representatives from the city, county, state, and local government agencies were on hand to discuss and answer questions about the site investigation and soil sampling results; health concerns and exposure to hazardous substances; remediation efforts and site assessment; and blood lead sampling for children. Representatives also met with the media prior to the sessions.

Availability Session Questions

The following questions were asked by the public and local officials during the availability sessions. The Illinois EPA has attempted to answer those questions in this Fact Sheet.

Was any lead contamination in the soil found at the Murphysboro Christian Academy on 16" Street or American Legion Hall on Gartside Street?


How can I be exposed to lead contamination in the soil?

Individuals can be exposed to lead by breathing contaminated dust, swallowing or touching contaminated soil, and eating food grown in contaminated soil. Exposure to contaminated soil is more dangerous for young children because oftheir frequent hand-to-mouth activity and their increased susceptibility to lead. Dust from contaminated soil can be tracked into the house on shoes and can end up on indoor surfaces and toys. Exposure to lead in soils is not a primary route of exposure. Old peeling lead paint in the home presents a greater exposure than lead in soils.

Are there any health risks to children from lead exposure?

Yes. Lead can affect almost every organ and system in the human body. The most sensitive is the central nervous system particularly in children. Expose to lead is more dangerous for young and unborn children. Unborn children can be exposed to lead through their mothers. Harmful effects include premature births, smaller babies, decreased mental ability in the infant, learning difficulties, and reduced growth in young children. These effects are more common after exposure to high levels of lead.

What can we do to protect our children from lead exposure?

Practice good personal hygiene habits:
  • Wash children's hands and faces frequently especially before eating and bed time. Keep their fingernails clean and short. Adults should wash their hands before feeding their children, smoking, eating or drinking. Discourage children from placing fingers and non-food items in their mouths.
  • Frequently clean toys or objects that children put in their mouths.
Practice good housekeeping techniques:
  • Remove your shoes upon entering your home to prevent tracking contaminated soil inside. Store outdoor shoes at entry ways.
  • Vacuum carpeting, rugs and upholstery often. Regular vacuuming will keep dust from accumulating.
Create barriers to contaminated soil:
  • Sodding yards and pouring parking areas will significantly reduce exposures. However, the appropriate remedy for this specific site has not been determined.
  • Keep windows closed on windy days, at least on the windward side of the house. This will help to keep lead dust from being blown inside. Fences, bushes and grass help reduce the dispersion of contaminated soil.
  • Thoroughly wash garden vegetables before eating them.

Do not let children play or dig in contaminated soil:

  • Build a sandbox with a bottom and fill it with clean sand to provide children with a safe play area.

Are there any health risks to my pets from lead exposure?

Research conducted at a Granite City site contaminated with lead found that living on soils with heavy soil contamination was not associated with high blood lead concentrations in pets, or their owners.

In the event that soils are removed from properties, will the trucks stir up any lead contaminated soil?

No. Methods for remediation of lead in soils used by Illinois EPA and U.S. EPA are proven technologies. If soil removal is required, steps will be taken to minimize dust from trucks and for the excavation site such as use of water trucks at the excavated areas to reduce windblown dust.

What types of lead exposure are we getting from run-off from the site during heavy rains, specifically, is the contamination coming into our residential yards?

Lead adheres strongly to soil particles and is not very mobile. Lead does not move from soil to underground water or drinking water unless the water is acidic or "soft." Therefore, we do not anticipate the mobilization of lead.

Will residents in the mobile home subdivision lose their property and/or have to pay for clean-up cost?

Residents in the mobile home subdivision will not lose their property and will not be charged for any cleanup that may follow.

What has been happening lately?

Representatives from the Illinois EPA conducted additional soil sampling in the Glover Mobile Home Park and surrounding areas during the week of November 15 th. Residential soils from yards that were previously sampled and those yards which have not been sampled were collected during this week. At the same time, IDPH personnel conducted wipe samples in the homes. Additional residential and off-site soil sampling was conducted during the week of November 29 th. During this same week, USEPA, in conjunction with Illinois EPA, conducted a site assessment of the areas that were previously sealed on the north and south side of Gartside Street.

What is next?

The Illinois EPA is waiting to receive the analytical results of the soil sampling from the laboratory. Once the results are received and reviewed, decisions regarding further environmental investigations and remediation will be discussed by the Illinois EPA, USEPA, and the City of Murphysboro. Representatives from the Illinois EPA will return to Murphysboro at a later time to conduct additional availability sessions to discuss residential soil sample results and answer citizen questions and comments.

For Additional Information

If you have any questions about the site or the upcoming availability sessions, you may contact:

Mark Densmore

Illinois EPA

Remedial Project Manager

Michelle Tebrugge

Illinois EPA

Community Relations Coordinator

Lynn Stone

Illinois Department of Public Health


Kevin Gillespie

Jackson County Health Department

Director of Environmental Health