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Elevated levels of Lead and Arsenic across 1,000 square miles in Puget Sound.

ASARCOsmokestackFor almost 100 years, the Asarco Company operated a copper smelter in Ruston, Washington. The extent of contamination is called the Tacoma Smelter Plume and covers part of King, Pierce and Thurston counties.  Left undisturbed, arsenic and lead remain in the soil and will continue to be a health risk for years to come.

You may be exposed by accidentally swallowing or breathing in contaminated soil.

There is no immediate danger, but long-term, daily exposure raises the risk of health problems. You may be exposed by accidentally swallowing or breathing in contaminated soil.

mom_kids reading_getty•  Lead is linked to developmental disabilities in children and may affect I.Q.

•  Arsenic may cause cancer later in life and may also contribute to heart disease.

•  Children under the age of six are at greatest risk because they put dirty hands and toys in their mouth.

•  Others at risk include gardeners, landscapers, and construction workers.

You can take these simple actions to protect yourself and your family

Take actions reduce your contact with arsenic and lead in dirt:

shoes_en hands_en mop_en veg_en toys_en wear gloves pets_en 

Download a poster that shows healthy actions in English and Spanish

Map of affected area

Is your property located in a shaded area? Click here to enter your address to find out what services we offer in your area.

If you live in the Tacoma Smelter Plume, these services may be available:
Free Soil testing for your property (in English).

Yard replacement in the most contaminated areas: Southern Vashon-Maury Island and Ruston/North Tacoma. Ecology’s Yard Program website (in English)

Technical assistance for cleaning up properties during development. (Ecology’s Technical assistance in English)

Free outreach materials offered by local Health departments and presentations to children, parents, teachers, and gardeners in multiple languages.


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