Absolutely. Soil contamination is a major problem all around the world, because industrial processes, many of whose environmental effects were poorly understood until recently, can have such a huge impact on soils, and consequently on groundwater that is often a source of human drinking water. Whether soils can be literally lethal in any particular case will depend heavily on the type of contaminant and how a person has been exposed to it. Benzene, for example, has been linked to leukemia, and various other common soil contaminants such as PCB’s have also been blamed as carcinogens. Some very common uses such as dry cleaners and gas stations can have disastrous effects on soil and water quality, lingering for decades even after the businesses that caused the contamination are long-gone. For this reason the possibility of soil contamination is a major factor in almost all commercial real property transactions, and clean-up of contaminated soil can be an expensive and difficult process that has direct effects on whether buildings may ever again be built on a particular piece of property.
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