Brooklyn-based Environmental and Community Organizations Host Event to Raise Awareness about Lead Contamination in the Environment
Brooklyn, NY – National Wildlife Federation’s Greenpoint Eco-Schools program is pleased to launch its newly published educational resource, “Keeping Outdoor Play Safe: Simple Steps To Reduce Lead Exposure From Soil.”
In the format of an oversized postcard, the educational resource outlines best practices and preventative actions to ensure the health and safety of young children who may be exposed to lead-contaminated soil during outdoor play time. Published in English, Spanish, and Polish languages, the postcard will be shared with families at Greenpoint schools, distributed by Greenpoint Eco-Schools community-based partners, or mailed to interested individuals upon request. Links to Soil Safety postcards:
An extension of Neighbor’s Allied for Growth’s (NAG) Lead in Garden Soil Outreach Project, the educational postcard was developed by Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Coach Fran Agnone, members of 61 Franklin Street Community Garden, and a coalition of concerned parents from PS 110 The Monitor School.
As the nation’s largest conservation organization, National Wildlife Federation aims to instill a love of nature in children and help parents incorporate regular outdoor time into their children's days. Research shows that access to nature, outdoor learning experiences, and unstructured time to creatively explore the environment is important for a healthy childhood.
According to recent research, both public and private soils in Greenpoint, Brooklyn may be contaminated with lead due to historical industrial practices, as well as residue from lead-based paint and gasoline. Lead is a neurotoxin that can enter a child’s bloodstream when ingesting or inhaling contaminated dust or dirt; young children who tend to put things in their mouth are especially at risk.
“Fears due to legacy lead contamination, especially in Greenpoint's public parks and private backyards and gardens, can be overwhelming for parents with young children. What our friends at PS 110 and Eco-Schools have created helps our families take simple actions and protective measures, not founded in fear, when playing and spending time outdoors. Because childhood is so important and should be full of parks and gardens and not the fear of contamination,” said Lisa Bloodgood of Neighbors Allied For Growth (NAG).
With the goals of countering the neighborhood’s history of industrial pollution and inspiring the next generation of environmental leaders, the Greenpoint Eco-Schools program partners with students, staff, families, and community organizations at four Greenpoint-based public schools – PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126 – to incorporate sustainability-based education and practices throughout the school. Funded by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, the Soil Safety postcard is part of PS 110’s Greenpoint Eco-Schools Community Stewardship grant intended to promote stewardship of and directly improve Greenpoint’s environment.
Sustainability Coach Fran Agnone said, “By mobilizing parents, the fiercest protectors of children’s health, we have found powerful advocates to confront the environmental issues that arise when living amongst industrial pollution. Time spent in nature is crucial to a child’s development, so anything we can do to make it safer and easier to get kids outside is a big win.”
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