Faculty Advisor

Dr. James Montgomery


In Chicago, city officials continue to locate polluting industries in predominately Black and Hispanic/Latinx neighborhoods. Lower income families are disproportionately exposed to greater amounts of toxic chemicals such as lead (Pb). While the City of Chicago focuses its effort in removing industrial sites from the North Side, a predominately white community area, sources of industrial pollution are more likely to be found in communities of color. Due to the prevalent sources of Pb on the Southwest side, residential soil is often highly disturbed and contaminated. Pb is a serious neurotoxin, and ingestion or inhalation of Pb contaminated soil and dust can affect all organ systems (e.g., cardiovascular, nervous, renal, immune, reproductive). The goal of my project is to measure, map, and compare spatial patterns of total soil Pb within and among three community areas in Chicago: West Elsdon (WE) and Garfield Ridge (GR), located on the Southwest Side, and Lakeview, located on the North Side. I trained a team of citizen scientists to collect soil samples from randomly determined points located in parkways in WE/GR census tracts. Samples from Lakeview were collected by a former ENV student. Samples were digested and analyzed for total Pb following EPA Method 3050B. Results of this project indicated that mean total Pb concentrations in WE/GR were not significantly higher than total Pb concentrations from Lakeview.