Reduce exposure to contaminated soils
Guidelines and Resident Self-Testing Protocol for testing soil
A study of area soils found arsenic and lead contamination at many points throughout King County. The Director and Health Officer of Public Health has determined that the lead and arsenic levels are of concern, but do not present an immediate health risk. As a precaution, people should avoid eating or breathing in contaminated dirt or dust. Children who crawl on the floor, play in dirt, and put hands and toys in their mouths are the most vulnerable. Public Health recommends that residents follow these guidelines to reduce exposure to contaminated soils.
Inside your home
- Take off your shoes before entering your home.
- Wash hands and face thoroughly after working or playing in the soil, especially before eating.
- Damp mop and wipe surfaces often to control dust.
- Wash toddler toys and pacifiers often.
- Scrub vegetables and fruits with soap and water.
- Wash clothes dirtied by contaminated soil separately from other clothes.
- Maintain painted surfaces in homes. Homes built before 1980 may contain lead-based paint. When older paint flakes it may become a source of lead.
- Eat a balanced diet. Iron and calcium help keep lead from becoming a problem in the body.
- Use water and soap to wash - avoid "waterless" soaps.
Outside your home
- Keep children from playing in contaminated dirt.
- Cover bare patches of dirt with bark, sod or other material, or fence off area.
- Dampen dusty soils before gardening.
- Wear gardening gloves.
- Do not eat or drink in contaminated areas.
- Keep vegetable gardens away from old painted structures and treated wood.
- Do not plant food crops under the roof overhang of your home.
- Keep pets off of exposed dirt so they don't track it into the house.
Soil sampling guidance for home owners