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October 18, 1985

Lead in Dust and Soil

Author Affiliations

Lead Poisoning Prevention Program City of Boston Department of Health and Hospitals

JAMA. 1985;254(15):2064. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360150040018

To the Editor.—  In the editorial note to the article "Lead Poisoning—Associated Death From Asian Indian Folk Remedies—Florida,"1 there were listed a number of potential sources of lead poisoning in children that should be investigated. Two important sources that you omitted were soil and dust. The latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control note that "soil and dust that contain lead are often an important source of lead exposure for children."2 The guidelines go on to state that soil lead levels exceeding 500 to 1,000 ppm are responsible for an elevation of the blood lead levels of children.2 In many cities in the United States and Europe, such soil lead levels are quite common.3 In Boston, for example, the average in urban gardens is about 700 ppm,4 and around the homes of children with elevated lead levels the soil lead level is about