How to Reduce Contact with Contaminants in Dirt
The following guidelines are suggested to help you reduce exposure to lead, arsenic, and other contaminants in dirt. Also see,
Dirt Alert: Take a Closer Look[PDF] ― healthy actions to
reduce your family's contact with soil. To request a brochure, call 360-867-2674 (TDD 360-867-2603) or
Inside Your Home
- Wash hands and face using water and soap after working or playing in the dirt, especially before eating.
- Use a shoe brush or quality doormat to remove dirt from shoes.
- Take your shoes off before entering your home.
- Damp mop and wipe surfaces often to control dust.
- Vacuum 2-3 times a week. Use a bag designed to filter "allergens" or a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor) filter.
- Wash children’s toys and pacifiers often.
- Scrub and/or peel vegetables and fruits with soap and water before eating.
- After working or playing in dirt, remove soiled clothing and wash them before wearing them again.
Outside Your Home
Children's Play Areas
- Wash children’s hands and face using water and soap after playing in the dirt, especially before eating.
- Cover bare patches of dirt with bark, sand, grass or other material.
- Do not eat or drink while playing in dirt.
- Rinse off toys used outside often and keep them away from areas of bare dirt.
- Wash hands and face using water and soap after working in the dirt.
- Wear gloves when working in dirt.
- Dampen dirt before gardening to reduce dust.
- Wear waterproof footwear when working in dirt; rinse them off after each use.
- Rinse dirt off garden tools and store them outside.
- Replace the top 18 – 24 inches of dirt in vegetable garden beds.
- Avoid growing root vegetables in your garden unless you’ve replaced your dirt.
Pet and Livestock Areas
- Keep pets away from bare dirt so they don’t track it into the house.
- Dampen soils with water when windy to reduce dust.
- Fence off and rotate areas of property to keep animals in vegetated areas, so they do not cause bare soil to be exposed.