Hey, people living near the Rockaways or Newtown Creek or the Gowanus Canal: Scientists want to look at your dirt. If you happen to have saved the dirt that entered your house as a result of superstorm Sandy, you’re going to want to make sure you get it to Neil Fitzgerald of Marist College and Alison Spodek Keimowitz of Vassar College so that they can check it out. If you already cleaned off all the dirt, well, I guess you just hate science.
These guys aren’t just cleaning fetishists (although to be fair the project is rather suspiciously named SUDS — but reportedly it stands for “Send Us your Dirt from Sandy”). They’re analyzing the dirt to look for cadmium, lead, chromium, arsenic, mercury, and PCBs. And while we hope they don’t find anything, well, they very well may. That’s because many of the flooded areas were on Superfund sites, which means a lot of bad stuff might have been stirred up. Which is why dumping toxic stuff in the ground is a problem, because if the ground just sits there, maybe it’s alright, but you know, sometimes shit happens and the ground gets all up in your house. It’s not pretty but it’s true. So send your dirt to the scientists so they can get a sense of just exactly how effed you are.