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Environmental Testing Laboratory

Category Press Release
Publish Date 8/29/2018
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Are the Ball Fields Your Children Play on Built on Toxic Soil?
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides testing services to identify lead exposure risks from soil, paint, dust, water and other outdoor and indoor environmental samples.

Cinnaminson, NJ,  August 29th , 2018

Two months ago, The New York Times published “Saga of the Toxic Ball Fields.” The article looked at athletic fields in Brooklyn that were used for decades by families and sports teams to play everything from soccer and baseball to shot put and long jump. The focus of the investigative report, the Red Hook fields, were the center of sports for many area residents until some of them were closed in 2012 with more shut down in 2015.

The reason for the field closures according to the article was lead contamination of the soil. It turns out some of fields were constructed on a former lead-smelting site from back in the 1920s and 30s. The health department reportedly conducted soil tests that found surface soil in some areas with four times the safety limit of lead and some deeper soils with almost ten times the limit. The area now needs to be remediated to remove the lead.

Athletic fields constructed on former industrial sites are not the only ones at risk of lead hazards. The Cincinnati Enquirer recently published a story about an Ohio sports complex used by countless young athletes that was recently found to have lead and arsenic. During the winter months, a turkey shoot competition is held each week at the sports complex. A parent is said to have filed a complaint with the Ohio EPA about lead from the shotgun shells possibly putting children at risk that play sports on the same fields during other times of the year. A lead risk assessor was then hired who found not only lead contamination, but also arsenic in the soil. 

“Anyone can be at risk of lead poisoning if they are exposed to elevated levels of the toxic heavy metal, but young children playing on contaminated grounds are at especially high risk due to their rapidly developing bodies and tendencies to put their hands and objects in their mouths,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Unfortunately, it’s all too common to find soil contamination issues in or near former industrial areas and shooting ranges in cities from coast to coast. As more of these sites are redeveloped, city planners, developers and public health officials need to consider soil contamination issues that could threaten the public in the future. The good news is lead poisoning is entirely preventable when exposure risks are identified and mitigated before the toxic heavy metal enters the body.”

Those concerned about the potential presence of lead, other heavy metals or chemical contaminants in the soil around their athletic fields, playgrounds, home, school or business can turn to EMSL Analytical for quick and affordable laboratory testing services. They offer all of the sampling supplies necessary and have dozens of laboratories located across the United States and Canada. EMSL has even sponsored an educational video about possible signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children that can be seen at:

To learn more about lead or other environmental, indoor air quality, health and safety testing services, please visit, call (800)220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 45 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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