Friday, February 26, 2016

Good news for urban gardeners

We had urban gardens in DC when I lived there. Vacant lots were sectioned off, water and hoses brought in, and people vied for the little plots.

But one always wondered about the dirt--was it so "urbanized" and polluted that the produce would be bad for you?

In the vast majority of cases, that pollution would be lead, settling in from exhaust of cars. This according to Sally Brown, research assoc professor at the Univ of Washington, as quoted in a story by Michelle Ma in Black Health Matters.

The good news is that the scientists have shown the lead in the soil might harm you if you ate the dirt--but not the veggies grown in the dirt.

Yes, lead contamination is elevated in urban environments with lots of traffic, lead painted houses, and under drip lines of roofs in older areas.

Some root veggies--carrots, turnips, radishes and beets--do take up lead from the soil--but most plants do not.

Adding compost and other soil enhancers can not only make more veggies, but can dilute any lead that might be taken up.

Even the root veggies are more good than harmful. Lead hurts mostly when taken in on an empty stomach. Eating a carrot stick with lunch is good not bad--and helping Mom and Dad grow them down the block is great for kids.

How about building a raised bed with tested soil in it--if you are still worried.

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