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    General Health Precautions

If your land is included on the Listed Land Use Register (LLUR) because of the potential for contamination, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the land is contaminated. There is also every possibility that the hazardous activity on your property may have only occupied a small area, thereby reducing the risk further. Check out additional information here.

The health risk associated with contaminated soil generally depends on three things:

  • The type of hazardous substance
  • The exposure route
  • The length of time a person is exposed.

The Canterbury District Health Board advises that everyone with a garden, whether or not the property is on the Listed Land Use Register, should follow some common sense precautions to minimise potential health risks. (HAIL)

Here are some common sense precautions everyone should take to minimise any potential health risks.


Practise good personal hygiene

  • Wash hands and exposed skin after coming into contact with soil
  • Wash children’s hands and faces before eating and before bed time
  • Adults should wash their hands before preparing food, smoking, eating, drinking or feeding children.

 

Keep soil outside, not in your house

  • Remove shoes before entering your house
  • Use door mats
  • Regularly mop floors and wet-wipe surfaces
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and clean carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture regularly
  • Wash boots and tools outside
  • Frequently wash toys and dummies
  • Keep windows closed on windy days to stop dust being blown inside.

Make sure children’s play areas are safe places

  • Maintain good grass cover in areas where children play
  • Do not let children play on bare soil
  • Bare soil should be covered with bark or mulch
  • Make sure children wash their hands after playing outside and before eating or drinking
  • Regularly wash toys used outside
  • Build a sandpit with a lined base and fill with clean sand. Put netting or a cover on at night to keep cats and other animals out.

Tips for ensuring safe and healthy gardening

  • Wear gloves as a barrier between your hands and the soil
  • if you want to grow vegetables, use lined, raised beds with topsoil brought in or engage a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner to investigate existing soil refer to www.ecan.govt.nz/HAIL.
  • Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating
  • Wash hands and exposed skin after coming into contact with soil
  • Wash boots and tools outside
  • Do not disturb soil on windy days.

Get more information on safe and healthy gardening here.

Keep your pets safe too

  • Don’t let dogs dig in the garden
  • Don’t let muddy pets into the house
  • Wash family pets often if they come into the house
  • Wash hands after handling pets
  • Keep chickens only if you are certain your land is not contaminated.

Pathways by which contaminants in soil can affect human health

Pathways by which contaminants in soil can affect human health

Further information

For more information regarding Health Precautions to take on contaminated land, please click here.

Working on Contaminated Sites

People working on contaminated sites may need some extra personal protective equipment such as a respirator if they are directly handling the soil. For any work where sites are suspected to be contaminated, but the exact nature and extent of contamination is not known:

  • Workers must have personal protective equipment (PPE) including protective coveralls, boots, gloves and appropriate respiratory protective equipment (RPE) where required. RPE must be at least P2.[3]
  • Workers must be trained and educated in how to use RPE effectively.
  • Provide washing facilities.
  • Tell workers about hygiene practices to avoid possible contamination.
  • If required undertake appropriate health monitoring. Refer to WorkSafe’s  An Introduction to the Guidelines for Workplace Health Surveillance.
  • Talk to the resident about why workers are using PPE.