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Home > News > Combining Science and Service: Studying Lead Contamination in Trenton, N.J.

Combining Science and Service: Studying Lead Contamination in Trenton, N.J.

April 2nd, 2018

 

On a hot morning last August, Princeton University rising sophomore Young Joo Choi crouched in the receding shade of a house in West Trenton, New Jersey, firing gamma rays into the dirt along the foundation.

It’s here that soil contamination from lead-based paint tends to be highest.

Choi used a handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) reader, an instrument that measures the most minute concentrations of elements in the object or substance it’s pointed at. Behind her, rising senior Elizabeth Stanley waited to record the readings. As the whir of cicadas overtook the quiet residential street, Stanley talked with Hinake Kawabe, a rising junior, about the water samples they had collected inside, as well as their XRF readings from the home’s doors, windows and lower interior walls.

After Choi reported that the soil was negative for lead contamination, the three packed up their samples and equipment for the trip across town to the next house as the heat and humidity of midday set in.

To read more about the work done by these PEI interns, click here.

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