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Heavy Metals in Garden Soil

  • Subject: [cg] Heavy Metals in Garden Soil
  • From: "Karen Jones" k.jones@uwinnipeg.ca
  • Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 12:42:29 -0500

We got our urban garden tested for heavy metals last year and found lead
119 ppm, the standards we used werethose of  the government of Quebec,
which has the strictest standards in Canada.They consider land to be
toxic at 130 ppm.  Lead will accumulate in leaves (not petioles) and
roots. If you peel carrots they are safe to eat because the lead
accumulates near the epidermis. Rhubarb is safe to eat. Lettuces,
Spinach, Cabage etc. is not safe to eat. All fruits are safe to eat,
because plants somehow do not let heavy metals into the seeds. Canola
and Sunflowers are good for remediation, but they then must be treated
as toxic waste. Compost should not be used in gardens with hight amounts
of lead,  compost increases the pH and lead is absorbed more by plants
under conditions of low  pH. Children under two should not be permitted
into these gardens at all, apparently 25% of young children eat soil
(pica) and children  accumulate heavy metals at faster rates than
adults. You may accumulate lead all your life and then when some
tramautic physical event occurs the lead will leach out of your bones
and you begin to lose your way in life. Please remember that no levels
of lead are safe. You have to have a really educated group of gardeners
to be able to garden safely where heavy metals are concerned. Raised
beds, are they sustainable? I don't think so. The David Suzuki
Foundation helped us to interpret the results.   Karen

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