Iola, Kansas residential lead contamination

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Haner, Andrew Lloyd
Gries, John

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s lead and zinc mining became prominent in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. With no knowledge of the effects that would impact the future, the mining companies continued to strip the land. With the discovery of lead and zinc ores in southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri, northeast Oklahoma in the late 1800’s a way to process the ores in a cheap way was needed. Natural gas in locations like Iola Kansas helped led to cheap ore processing and smelting. After the cheap fuel for the processing began to diminish in the early 1900’s, the multitude of smelters began to decrease. With the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, concerns for the environment became a more than ever important issue. In the 1990’s, the EPA began to collect environmental impact data from areas potentially affected by mining, to access the effects of lead mining on residential areas in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri. Thus, the methods of residential lead sampling were created. In Iola, Kansas the Kansas Department of Health and Environment performed tests to measure the extent that environmental impact from the smelters had on human residents of the town. With this evidence, the EPA was asked to conduct more testing, and to perform a cleanup of residential sites to help protect the environment and human health.

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Thesis [M.S]: Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Dept. of Geology
"December 2007."