Riley Raccoon Says, “Suds After Mud, Wash Your Hands!”
Hi Kids, I am Riley Raccoon! This is my family, Papa, Mama, Rita, me, and baby Ricky. My family lives along the Coeur d’Alene River. We like to fish, bike, and play outside. Lead and other metals are in the dirt where we play along the river and other recreation areas in the Silver Valley.
You can’t see lead in dirt, and lead can get into your body by eating with dirty hands, biting fingernails, or breathing in lots of dust. After playing outside and especially before eating, we make sure to keep our hands and face clean. We use soap and tap or bottled water, and wash our hands for at least 20 seconds to remove lead particles.
Try my activity book to find out how to play safe. I say, “Suds after mud, wash your hands!” Keep Clean, Eat Clean, and Play Clean!
Letter to Parents
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Kellogg Panhandle Health District (PHD) have worked many years together on the Lead Health Intervention Program. The program teaches about lead in soils related to the Bunker Hill Superfund Site. EPA leads efforts to clean up contamination from past mining practices. Learn more.
Riley Raccoon promotes healthy choices while recreating along the Coeur d’Alene River and South Fork. Riley also encourages healthy choices at home and while recreating. These tips can help reduce risk.
Lead health intervention is needed because the Coeur d'Alene River Basin has not been fully cleaned up. Lead concentrations in floodplain soils are often five times higher than thresholds that trigger property remediation.
Nearly all community areas like yards, parks, and schools now have a clean soil barrier and grass (or gravel) cover. This practice has helped reduce blood lead levels in children, but contamination remains under soils, on hillsides, and along the CDA River and lateral lakes.
Annual blood lead screening is offered by the PHD for younger children living in certain areas of the Coeur d'Alene River Basin. PHD recommends that families with young children participate in free screening each year. Testing is the only way to know if lead is being ingested. Blood lead testing for all ages is also available through a family doctor. Annual screening shows that blood lead levels in children generally are dropping over time.
Recreation Sites Program
DEQ, EPA, PHD, and Coeur d’Alene Work Trust proposed the Coeur d’Alene Basin Recreational Sites Strategy to help reduce health risks from lead and other metals at recreation areas. The strategy lays out goals, ways to inventory recreational areas, possible ways to manage risks to people, and current outreach activities. Community outreach and education are important ways to help people manage health risks while recreating in the Coeur d’Alene Basin. An outreach and education program has been in place for years and will continue to be implemented and expanded.
Addressing contamination at recreation sites is different than other cleanup activities. Many places are recontaminated with each high water event or flood making it difficult to just remove contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil. Other recreation areas are remote, hard to access, and spread out, like hiking trails or ATV areas, making clean up of the entire area difficult. Overall, different approaches are needed for the wide spread types and locations of recreation sites. The entities are currently developing a recreational sites implementation plan to reflect local needs and values based on comments gathered during public review of the strategy; as summarized in the Recreational Sites Strategy: Response to Community Input.