Chicago, Aug. 3, 2016—A Chicago-based group dedicated to remediating lead contamination in soil recently completed a project in Barrington Hills, Ill. to demonstrate a natural method for neutralizing the effects of lead ingested by humans.
The Lead Abatement Resource Center (LARC) recently applied a substance called “Apatite II,” composed principally of ground up fish bones, to a property on Old Hart Road. In essence, the lead in the soil binds to naturally occurring chemicals in Apatite II, immobilizing the lead and, if ingested by a child, will allow it to pass through the body without entering the bloodstream.
Although public concern is largely focused on lead in paint chips and drinking water, most exposure to lead arises from lead in the soil, residue of leaded gasoline, historical use of coal for heating and industrial activity. Although less concentrated than lead in contaminated paint, soil-based lead can cause lead poisoning if the soil is ingested, or dust inhaled, particularly by young children playing in dust and dirt.
For the Old Hart Road project, LARC selected a 1,350 square foot section of forested land along the roadside with a few trees, small saplings, and invasive scrub tree species such as Buckthorn and other underbrush.
The land was cleared of vegetation and approximately 1,650 pounds of Apatite II, a granular organic substance, were rototilled into the soil. The process took about eight hours, with about half of the time devoted to clearing and preparing the soil.
After the Apatite II was applied, there was a slight “fishy” odor and slightly increased presence of insects, but both dissipated within a week.
The Old Hart Road site will be converted into a small pedestrian walkway with gardens growing fruits and vegetables, demonstrating that the process can make soil safe again for growing food.
For more information on LARC, and to donate, go to www.larcusa.org.