Our Soil Team Publishes Paper on Soil Lead!

Dan, Abby, Tal, Mónica, and Saed published a paper entitled “Confronting Legacy Lead in Soils in the United States: Community-engaged Researchers Doing Undone Science” in Environmental Science and Policy. You can find the article here.

The study detailed in the paper is an investigation into public policies regarding soil lead and examines the contributions and perspectives of community-engaged soil researchers (people working with communities to analyze soil) with respect to lead governance in the United States. In the paper, we contend that community-engaged researchers not only fill knowledge gaps about soil lead; they are also a valuable source of insight about environmental policy and governance.

Abby and Dan’s qualitative analysis of the in-depth interviews that they conducted in 2020 revealed several characteristics of U.S. soil lead governance and its shortcomings in meeting the needs of people facing soil pollution, which we discuss in the paper. For example, interviews revealed the limitations of a regulatory strategy focused on identifiable polluters, when faced with a widely distributed pollutant like lead from gasoline and paint.

Third Workshop Day in Arica!

On the third and last day of the workshops in Arica, Fellows screened their soil for lead and Daniel facilitated a mapping exercise for Fellows to share their results with one another and discuss the state of soil lead and arsenic throughout the city. Fellows then formed two groups to brainstorm around several prompting questions for thinking about the larger action and resources necessary to address lead and arsenic in Arica.

Second Workshop Day in Arica!

Throughout the day, Fellows brought their soil samples to the workshop site and Dan sieved them to remove particles and debris larger than 2 mm in preparation for the day’s testing. In the second workshop session, Fellows used the arsenic test from the Community Soil Study Toolkit to measure the amount of inorganic arsenic in their soil samples. During the gaps of time in between steps in the procedure, Mónica and Saed joined us via a video call to brief everyone on what soil is, why building healthy soils is important for community health, how we can work with our existing soils to improve soil quality and community health, and answered Fellows’ questions.

First Workshop Day in Arica!

Abby, Sebastián, Dan, Daniel, and Caleb traveled to Arica in the northernmost part of Chile to work with Soil Justice Fellows in the city yesterday and held the first soil workshop today. Fellows shared with one another their motivations for being at the workshops and what they expected and hoped to find with the soil toolkit. Dan and Sebastián explained how to collect soil samples at the end of the session, and everyone left with sampling kits. Arica has a semi-arid climate, and the soils are very dry as a result. In this case, there won’t be a real need to set samples up to dry before sieving and analyzing.