Lead Soil Treatment Study in Boston

Project Funders: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Project Partner: Boston Public Health Commission Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Project Contact: Jonathan Wilson, jwilson@nchh.org, 443.539.4162

Project Description

The Boston lead-safe yards evaluation was developed to explore the viability and effectiveness of low-cost soil interventions to reduce exposure to soil lead hazards. Buildings that had been abated for lead to deleading standards for the state of Massachusetts in the previous five years and met other program requirements were recruited for the evaluation. Following individual property assessments, yards were treated with application of ground coverings and ground barriers in 2000-2001 and followed up at one year. Soil lead levels at the building dripline declined from 2021 PPM at baseline to 206 ppm at one year follow-up. Most of the barrier treatments continued to block access to the lead-contaminated soil at one year. At the follow-up, few properties with grass treatment had areas that were completely bare, but 28% had more than a small amount of bare treated areas. Treatments were effective in reducing entryway dust lead in the rear of the building if the residents reported they had maintained the yard treatments.


Lead-Safe Yards: A Program for Improving Health in Urban Neighborhoods [pdf]

Latest page update: April 4, 2024.