Systematic Review of the Health and Equity Impacts of Remediation and Redevelopment of Contaminated Sites

Danielle Sinnett, Isabelle Bray, Gergő Baranyi, Matthias Braubach, Sinaia Netanyanhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(1) Background: Globally there is a vast legacy of contaminated sites from past industrial, commercial and military activity, waste disposal, and mineral extraction. This review examined the extent to which the remediation of contaminated sites reduces health risks to new and existing populations. (2) Methods: Standard academic databases were searched for papers that reported on health-related outcomes in humans following remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites. Title/abstract screening, followed by full-text screening identified sixteen papers that met the eligibility criteria. (3) Results: Most studies were set in the United States of America and reported changes in blood lead concentrations in children, following soil remediation and, in some cases, public health campaigns to reduce exposure. Two further studies examined the impacts of remediation on soil contaminated with chromium and sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). (4) Conclusions: Overall, the evidence suggests that remediation via removal, capping, and replacing soil, and planting vegetation is effective at reducing concentrations of lead and chromium in blood and urine in children. There is also evidence that sediment dredging can reduce PCB concentrations in umbilical cords in infants. Study designs are relatively weak and some recommendations are provided for those wishing to examine the health impacts of remediation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5278
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2022


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