Lead is a poison that perhaps contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire and has recently damaged many lives in Flint, Michigan and other urban areas. Any exposure to lead is toxic particularly for children, and its harmful effects seem to fall heaviest on people of color and people from low-income backgrounds. Most of us are aware of efforts to remove lead from our water and to get rid of old lead-based paint – but not enough attention is given to lead in the dirt under our feet, the soil. How did lead get into our soil, mostly in our cities? What can we do about this? In the first Green Series discussion of 2019, Sara Perl Egendorf discusses the most effective methods for reducing lead exposure from soil. Among the insights she will share are how to buffer contaminated soil with clean soil.

Sara will then present research on the NYC Clean Soil Bank / PURE Soil NYC currently being co-created by young people and residents in a NYC Housing Authority community, composters at the NYC Compost Project, city officials with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, and researchers at the City University of New York. She will discuss ways to protect our communities from soil lead exposure, to contribute to new systems for reducing lead that was left by old pollution (“legacy lead”) and to promote the many environmental and social benefits of healthy soil.

Sara Perl Egendorf is a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, Advanced Science Research Center, and Brooklyn College. She conducts research on urban soil contaminant and nutrient cycling, and is interested in the potential for urban soils to promote environmental and social justice. As co-founder of the Just Soil project and the Legacy Lead coalition, she works in partnership with scientists, city agencies, non-profit organizations, composters, gardeners, and young people to both study and apply best practices for systemic contaminant mitigation, waste reduction, greenhouse gas sequestration, food justice, and access to STEM knowledge and skills.

Brooklyn Public Library’s Green Series is a series dedicated to innovators in environmental conservation and understanding, and presents these voices while the new Greenpoint Branch is being renovated and redesigned with a new environmental education center. Join us and learn how to make an impact and make your voices heard. 

This program is made possible through the generous support of Whole Foods Market.

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