Beware of Lead in Your Soil and Food

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Urban Gardeners across the country are at risk for having toxic levels of lead in their soil and food.  More and more people grow fruits and vegetables for their own consumption, but they are not aware of the health risks that can go along with it.  Urban gardeners are encouraged to study a map of their metropolitan area to determine potential soil contamination risks.  Areas of higher contamination tend to be near roadways, older homes, or lead smelters.  Soil for potential gardens can be tested for lead contamination levels.  Soil with test results of  less than 200 parts per million (ppm) can be abundantly planted, but those that test 200-500 ppm are recommended to be planted in raised bed settings and mulching between beds to reduce the risk of tracking the lead-rich soil into the plots or the home.  Soil with a test level of over 500 ppm is advised to be used with caution.  Taller fruit plants should be fine to consume while root vegetables and leafy greens should not.  No matter what the level of lead in the soil, low or high, all produce should be washed before being consumed.

Title:    Urban Gardeners Beware: There May Be Lead in Your Soil and Food

Publication:     Science Daily, September 28, 2010


Faculty Evaluator:       Terry Wright, Professor of Emeritus Geology, Sonoma State University

Student Researcher: Stefanie Adams, Sonoma State University