Soil contamination closes Newark athletic field

An athletic field in Newark is shut down while tests are performed for lead and toxic PCBs.

City officials immediately closed Ironbound Athletic Field after they were notified by the New Jersey Department of Health about high levels of lead. The Environmental Protection Agency says lead was discovered in the dust and synthetic turf fibers at the field.

Teams from the EPA and a company hired by the city are now conducting independent tests on the field.

According to the EPA, initial tests showed the lead levels are almost 10 times the state accepted limit. Crews will also be testing for PCBs.

The EPA believes the contamination could have come from an old factory next to the field or toxins from the turf itself.

A city spokeswoman says the park will remain closed at least until the lab results come back. The EPA says that will take about two weeks. Meanwhile, a city councilman says the turf at the field will be replaced. He adds the field is the only field in Newark with that type of turf.

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