public health assessment

Public Health Assessment Summary

Exposure to lead and arsenic in the Jacobsville Neighborhood Soil Contamination (JNSC) site Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) assessed whether exposure to lead and arsenic in soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater near the Jacobsville Neighborhood Soil Contamination (JNSC) site in Evansville, Indiana could harm people’shealth. ATSDR reviewed other potential sources of lead in older housing near the site which is likely to be contributing to lead exposures. The JNSC site is nearly 41⁄2 square miles of mostly residential properties. In 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) for long-term cleanup.

The EPA found that JNSC residential soils contained lead and arsenic due, in part, to air emissions from former foundries and factories that operated in the area from the late 1800’s to1990. As of December 2018, EPA has sampled over 5,000 properties and cleaned up over 2,300 residential properties. Approximately 4,000 properties will need/receive cleanup at the Site.

In 2016, the City of Evansville achieved a Federal Promise Zone designation, which allows access to 16 federal agencies, including workgroups for: Crime, Job Development, Education, Health, Housing, Economic Development, and Community Engagement. In 2017, Evansville adopted new procedures for reporting, monitoring, and preventing lead poisoning.

The Bottom Line:

  • ï‚·  Children who swallow soil and dust containing lead in JNSC yards could experience health problems which include slower growth and development, hearing damage, and attention and learning problems. Pica behavior is the eating of non-food items. Children with pica behavior are at a very high risk.
  • ï‚·  Pregnant women could accidentally swallow lead in soil that could affect their unborn child. The unborn child could experience similar health effects as the young exposed children from in utero exposures. Pregnant women with pica behavior present a high risk to their unborn children.
  • ï‚·  People who are exposed to arsenic in soil for long periods of time could have an increased risk of cancer of the skin, liver, bladder, andlungs.
  • ï‚·  Children in Vanderburgh County have higher blood lead levels (BLLs) compared to children statewide. ATSDR identified several factors associated with the increased risk of higher BLLs including age of housing, contaminated soil, poverty, and race.