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Lead and organic matter

  • Subject: [cg] Lead and organic matter
  • From: "Sally McCabe" SMcCabe@Pennhort.org
  • Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 15:29:40 -0400
  • Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
  • Thread-index: AcVX3do6SJtK8XStSjOXKUOghOw7OAAEf/eg
  • Thread-topic: Lead and organic matter


Even though adding OM to the soil can help to lower the pH (make it more
acid), it's the organic carbon and phosphorus in compost and biosolids
that bind the lead.

According to the Davies study (1990)
Lead, which is known to create stable complexes with organic matter, was
less extractable in soils with greater organic carbon content. It
accumulates in soils and relatively may not be
affected by microbial degradation (Davies 1990), therefore, its lower
extractability may be explained also by its greater ability to create
strong organic complexes and
chelates which were not releasable so readily by increased microbial

It's the dust that gets you every time. Here in Philly we recommend
compost to buffer, mulch to keep down dust, and constant diligence with
gloves, handwashing and separate gardening clothes, to keep lead out of
houses and mouths.

We have several handouts which we use for Best Practices, especially for
kids. E-mail me outside the list serve and I'll send them if they're of
help to anyone.

Sally McCabe
Community Education Coordinator, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

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