Two groups of Soil Justice Fellows contributed to a community soil study in Troy, NY in August 2021. Here, Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta leads a discussion about the effects of lead and arsenic exposures.

Seven young people and eleven adults were chosen for the Soil Justice Fellowship in Troy, NY in Summer 2021. The workshop series focused on answering participants’ questions about the soils that mattered to them. They learned to collect samples and to screen them for lead and arsenic using the Our Soil kits. We then worked to develop individual and collective strategies for reducing lead exposures, such as covering exposed soils with mulch (provided for free by the city), building raised bed gardens, and ensuring that playground soils are lead-free.

Troy is a small city in upstate New York. As in many old industrial cities, lead exposure is a problem in Troy. Many people live in residences that were built before lead-based paint was banned, and the soils in high-traffic areas often contain lead accumulated from many decades of leaded gasoline combustion. In addition to lead from automotive exhaust, soils accumulate lead from deteriorating lead paint on the exterior of buildings, from industrial pollution, and from the accumulation of discarded lead-containing products, among other sources. Arsenic is less commonly found here, though it may be present in particular locations.

Read our report on the results of the soil testing.


Sebastian Ureta and Dan Walls demonstrate the soil sampling procedure and how to maintain accurate records, at a community soil study workshop in Arica, Chile, in November 2021.

More coming soon! Stay tuned for details about our work in this community.