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RiverStone Health offering free soil testing for lead

RiverStone Health offering free soil testing for lead
Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 22, 2024

BILLINGS — Lead can be found in all parts of the environment: air, water, inside homes, and in the soil.

Little lead testing has been done in Yellowstone County, so the risk of lead in our soil is uncertain.

That's why RiverStone Health is teaming up with Gainan's Heights Flowers and Garden for free soil testing for lead.
 

RiverStone Health offering free soil testing for lead

“Lead naturally occurs in soil in low amounts but it tends to be higher in communities that have older homes, so pre-1978,” said Melissa Henderson, the director of health promotion at RiverStone. “We received a grant from the state health department to focus on childhood lead poisoning prevention and soil is one of the common exposures for kiddos.”

Small amounts of lead can cause growth and developmental problems in children and large amounts can cause damage to the brain.

RiverStone Health offering free soil testing for lead

Saturday’s event is a quick and easy way to make sure what you’re growing your food in, or what your kids are playing in, is safe.

“The soil test is actually going to happen in real time. So, the state's bringing an X-ray machine that’ll check the soil. I think it takes about 5 to 10 minutes,” Henderson said. “The risks of lead poisoning can be permanent.”

RiverStone Health offering free soil testing for lead

As Cynthia Jessee prepares to kick up the dirt and start growing veggies at the Songbird Community Garden, there is a lot of unknown within the soil that is so important. That's why she's getting different sections of soil in the garden tested on Saturday.

“It just is my therapy to, you know, get out and dig in the dirt,” Jessee said. “The entire world lives off the top 6 inches of soil.”

The testing will begin at 9 a.m. and run until noon at the Gainan’s in the Heights. Bring up to five bags of dry, free-of-debris soil in separate clean, clear quart-sized plastic bags.