The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) have partnered on a project in West Oakland to study lead in soil. Lead is a heavy metal that is often found in urban soil. It usually comes from sources such as chipped paint on pre-1978 housing, historic pollution from leaded gas, or lead recycling (smelting). Children exposed to lead can have health problems, including impaired brain and physical development.
In June 2018, EPA and DTSC took soil samples in city-owned property along streets, not private property, at nearly 200 randomly selected locations across West Oakland. This area was selected because of its mix of possible sources of lead, including industry, older homes that may be painted with leaded paint and nearby freeways.
EPA and DTSC are currently analyzing the soil samples for lead and other heavy metals. Based on the study results, we will work with federal, state and local partners to prioritize additional evaluation and cleanup, if needed. A summary report on the sampling will be published on EPA’s website and available at the West Oakland library, where you can find all reports and other published material related to this project.