On October 29, 2016, the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) hosted a soil testing booth at the annual Phoenix Food Day in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta partnered with Ben Gerhardstein (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry - ATSDR) Katherine Londen (Public Health Sanitarian, Arizona Departments of Health Services - ADHS), Rosanne Albright (Program Manager, Brownfields & Food System, City of Phoenix), and Dave Laney (ATC Associates) to coordinate the soil testing event called soilSHOP (Soil Screening, Health Outreach and Partnership). The soilSHOP program was developed by ATSDR as a way to help communities screen their soils for harmful metals, particularly lead.
The Phoenix Food Day was a great venue since most attendees are interested in local food movement, revival of native foods, have a home garden and/or want to start one, and/or love to eat food. Community members brought soil samples from their home gardens to the soilSHOP for testing using a portable x-ray fluorescence instrument supplied by the UA SRP. Other personnel helping included UA SRP Community Engagement Core Coordinator Denise Moreno Ramírez, Shana Sandhaus (UA SRP graduate Trainee) and Garrett Obermeyer (UA SRP undergraduate Trainee). Katherine Londen from ADHS provided environmental health information about metals and safe gardening. “The soilSHOP is a wonderful public environmental health intervention and prevention activity for urban gardeners” said Ramírez-Andreotta. Sandhaus stated: “My research focuses on community outreach and education, so I really enjoyed getting to work with the public in a fun and engaging setting".