The Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District is offering free soil tests for people living in Bayside, East Bayside, Parkside, and West End. Soil tests are highly recommended for anyone growing food in these neighborhoods to identify possible soil contaminants, especially lead.
Based on Portland’s historical use in these neighborhoods, there is a high chance that soils are contaminated with lead. Lead concentrations over 100 ppm (parts per million) are cause for concern, while concentrations over 400 ppm are deemed hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2020, the program collected 80 soil samples from these neighborhoods. In 64% of tests, lead levels were higher than normal background levels. The average amount of lead found at these sites was 614 ppm, which is well over the hazardous level.
Exposure to lead can cause lead poisoning, which can have long term impacts on health. Pregnant women and children are the most at risk. Risk can be lessened by testing the soil and knowing that lead is present.
To learn more, view factsheets available in Arabic, French, Lingala, Portuguese, and English:https:// www.cumberlandswcd.org/documents-1/soil-lead
To sign up for FREE soil testing: https://tinyurl.com/FREESoilTest (207) 892-4700,