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St. Paul closes ballfields after lead discovered in soils

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St. Paul city officials are posting "no entry" signs and erecting fences around some popular ball fields at the Jimmy Lee Recreation Center. 

The fields, just south of Interstate 94, are closed after tests revealed high levels of lead contamination in the soil. 

Mike Hahm, director of parks and recreation for the city of St. Paul, said the contamination was discovered as the site was being prepared for a summer renovation of the fields.

"As they did their soil sampling the levels rose above what's acceptable for recreation and some of the lead sampling was actually considered potentially hazardous," Hahm said. "So that caused us to stop our work and immediately contact the MPCA and figure out the best course of action to move forward."

While ingested lead can cause health problems, especially in young children, health officials today downplayed the likelihood that the lead has caused any health problems.