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Urban gardeners beware: There may be lead in your soil and food
Date:9/27/2010

or found to have lead levels of over 500 ppm, he counsels proceeding with caution as contamination could be coming from the soil below and the air above. While taller fruit plants are probably safe to consume, root vegetables and leafy greens like lettuce and kale are not, mainly because of the difficulties of cleaning this produce thoroughly before consumption. In this setting, raised-bed planting is critical, as is ensuring mulch or ground cover between beds and extending for 10 feet around the perimeter of the garden.

The produce of all urban gardens, even those at low risk of contamination, should be washed carefully.

"Urban gardens are powerful tools for personal health and for neighborhood revitalization. These plots should be encouraged but need to be tended with special care to ensure that lead does not adhere to the food children and adults are consuming," said Filippelli.

This season, Filippelli and School of Science students are analyzing lead levels in multiple soil samples from an initial 25 urban gardens. They hope to acquire funding to test many more urban plots beginning this autumn to inform urban dwellers, policy makers and researchers.

"Environmental awareness can ensure that a garden is a healthy place to work and that food is safe to eat and share," said Filippelli who has studied lead contamination in urban soil for almost a decade.


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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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