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Community and urban gardening offer numerous benefits. Some gardens and outdoor play areas may have harmful substances like lead in the soil. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) promotes health education and outreach events called “soilSHOPs” to help people learn if their soil is contaminated with lead, and how to reduce exposures to contaminated soil and produce. The name soilSHOP stands for Soil Screening, Health, Outreach and Partnership. ATSDR developed this toolkit to help communities and other groups plan their own soilSHOP events.

At soilSHOP events, people can receive:

  • Free soil screening for lead,
  • Information on safe gardening practices,
  • Ways to protect children from lead exposure, and
  • One-on-one health education about the hazards of lead.
  • soilSHOP logo

How to Host a soilSHOP

gardening planning prepration

Planning and Preparation

  • Determine date and venue
  • Plan a site visit
  • Identify staff/volunteers

More

Teamwork

Outreach and Partnership

  • Become familiar with the community
  • Identify community special needs and stakeholders
  • Organize and partner

More

Shovel and dirt

Soil Screening

  • Become familiar with soil screening guidance
  • Secure screening equipment and technicians

More

Health Education

Health Education

  • Provide soil screening results and one-on-one health education
  • Share resources on safe gardening techniques and health-related services

More

 

Other Tools, Resources and Information

Communities that are concerned about lead and other contaminants, or that are interested in assessing and cleaning contaminated vacant lots for use as gardens, may wish to contact their local, State or Tribal brownfields program or EPA Regional Brownfields program offices for further technical assistance.

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