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Re: need advice on site with high lead

  • Subject: Re: [cg] need advice on site with high lead
  • From: "Maria B. Pellerano" maria@rachel.org
  • Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 22:18:42 -0400

Hi,

The primary way children get lead from soil is they get it on their hands 
and they put it in their mouths.  I live in New Brunswick, NJ and community 
garden here and can tell that we have almost NO lead free soil.   The 
formula is simple -- old houses = deteriorating lead paint = lead in soil. 
We have done lots of research including doing over 60 samples in one garden 
including sending 25 percent of them as split samples to two labs.

Removing the soil is a great idea but extremely expensive because it has to 
be treated as hazardous waste.  We are following the research and work done 
by the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) Lead Safe Yard programs. 
See http://www.epa.gov/region01/leadsafe/ .  The recommendation from this 
work is to cover the existing soil with some type of barrier (we are using 
an agricultural grade cloth barrier) and then build up from there.    And 
yes we are getting the "clean" soil checked.

We are also using containers with lead free soil for plants that tend to 
take up lead -- non-fruiting greens, bulb plants, etc.  We are being as 
preventive as we can.  Primarily we have a multi-faceted education campaign 
going on in the community that includes teaching people about washing hands, 
a diet high in iron and calcium, cleaning old houses well, leaving shoes at 
the door, and sadly learning what consumer products contain lead (candy, 
candle wicks, pottery, pots, etc.)

I am happy to advise anyone who wants to know more.

-- Maria

Volunteer gardener and past garden coordinator
Suydam Street Community Garden
New Brunswick, NJ


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Libby J. Goldstein" <libby@igc.org>
To: <Grow19@aol.com>
Cc: <community_garden@mallorn.com>
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: [cg] need advice on site with high lead


Hi Judy,

We went through the lead thing here years ago. We had advice from ARS
and from the Penn State folk. We even had our plants tested, washed and
unwashed and found that any lead "in" the plants was actually air
deposited and had not been taken up from the soil.

We learned, among other things, that the high level of organic matter
and the high pH should protect your plants against any lead up-take.
You do want to protect kids against mucking in the soil and then
putting their hands in their mouths.

The folk who did raised beds did a good thing and didn't need to close
the bottoms of their beds. Neither you nor they actually have any idea
of the heavy metal content of their replacement soil, nor will you
unless you have the soil you propose to use tested. Lead doesn't move
into plants from the roots the way cadmium can; so not to worry too
much.

You can use raised beds with your present soil and add mushroom compost
to it, thus raising the organic matter content of the soil as well.

You should require all soil: in the growing areas as well as the paths
to be mulched. This will keep little curious hands off the soil as well
as providing the usual benefits of mulches.

Breathe free,

Libby


______________________________________________________
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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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