WHITEWATER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A weekly winter "turkey shoot" fundraiser could be responsible for lead and arsenic contamination at Taylor Creek Youth Organization sports fields, according to public health officials.
Hamilton County Health commissioner Tim Ingram said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Hamilton County Public Health discovered the contamination at the site, which is used for youth baseball, softball and soccer, after a concerned parent filed a complaint with the state.
"Our staff went out and began to investigate and found a lot of shotgun debris," he said. "I thought, 'Oh, my. There could be lead contamination.'"
There was. When officials tested soil from the field, they also discovered the arsenic. Water in the area did not test positive for either substance.
More tests will determine the extent of the contamination. According to Ingram, the investigation happened during the off-season and the field found to be contaminated hasn't been used since, county health officials said.
"The staff at Taylor Creek Youth Organization has been extremely cooperative," he said. "They obviously have great concern for the children and others who use the facility and we appreciate the cooperation."
There have been no confirmed exposures, county health officials said, but they recommended any parents who are concerned and had children play on Field 5 in the past year or two visit a doctor.
Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing lead, according to Hamilton County Public Health. It affects the brain and nervous system and can cause permanent development problems.
Swallowing arsenic can cause nausea and vomiting, decrease the production of blood cells, and other effects, according to Hamilton County Public Health.
"While we feel that the potential risks to children who have played on these fields are small, we would advise anyone concerned to consult with their physician," Ingram said. "Tests for both lead and arsenic exposure are readily available and easy to administer."