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Visual Storytelling

Soil Contamination in Miami-Dade County Parks

Maira Campos

Maira Campos

Maira Campos, 25, a mother of school-aged children, had no idea her trip to the park would lead to a doctor’s visit. “I am going to take my kids immediately to go get tested,” said Campos, who is worried her children could be affected by the recent discovery of toxic chemicals at Miami-Dade parks.

Since late 2013, six parks have closed after the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (DERM), found elevated levels of toxins such as lead and arsenic in the soil. Lead poisoning can cause a number of adverse human health effects, but is particularly detrimental to the neurological development of children.

Park Closure:

The closed parks, located within six miles of each other, used to be landfills. “To even wrap my head around how someone would even build a park over a prior landfill, is mind blowing,” said Campos, who takes her kids to the park two to three times a week.

Many of the parks in the county were built directly above landfills, which up until the 1970’s were not regulated. Now, after testing the land, DERM found that the concentration of dangerous chemicals contaminated the soil. The above screening criteria in multiple locations led to the publicity, even though some parks tested positive as early as 2011, but were quickly covered with astroturf to resolve the problem. Currently, four of the six parks remain closed with no expected opening date. The city has ordered all 112 parks in the county to be tested throughout 2014.

 

In the center: Campos' 6-year-old daughter Mia

In the center: Campos’ 6-year-old daughter Mia

Campos' 2-year-old son Eli

Campos’ 2-year-old son Eli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:                                                                                                                                                                Miami Herald- miamiherald.com                                                                                                                             Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry- http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=18&tid=3

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