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RE: kids gardening in toxic waste dumps


Hi folks-
This whole question of how to deal with (potentially)contaminated soil is
getting really interesting.

For one thing, soil doesn't get contaminated evenly.  Soil around the
foundation of an older frame house may have lots of lead in it due to
peeling paint, but the rest of the site may be clean.  Some people work on
their car and pour fluids on the ground in one place in the back yard.
Earlier residents might have dumped coal ash or other nasties in one spot
behind the house.  Who knows?  Typical soil sampling tends not to pick these
up because we don't take enough samples, they don't go deep enough, and we
often mix them together for a composite test.  So how do we avoid doing
wicked expensive phase 2 assessments on every potential garden site?

Another issue has to do with cleaning versus reducing exposure.  If you have
a (potentially) contaminated site, you can take actions like those Leslie
suggested - covering, diluting, leaching out or buffering the contaminated
soil, or you could try to actually remove the contamination.  Both reduce or
eliminate the exposure, and exposure is what causes poisoning, but some
remedies leave the bad stuff there waiting for some unsuspecting being to
come along and uncover it later.  Is that ethical, effective, good practice?

I'm no public health person, but my understanding thus far is that airborne
dust and dirty hands are the chief sources of contact with lead.  If so,
dust being kicked up in gardens could be a big issue, although nowhere near
the issue of lead contamination around a dwelling where kids spend much more
time.  The permissible lead level in residential soil is 500 parts per
million.  Is that a reasonable target in gardens or should it be more or
less - what about gardens primarily used by kids?

This area needs to get the best thinking from all kinds of folks -
biologists, chemists, public health people, gardeners, public policy people,
phytoremediation entrepreneurs, PR people, pediatricians, philosophers, etc.
I've been talking to some folks here in Connecticut about sponsoring a
multi-disciplinary conference on the subject.  There has been some interest
among academics.  Is anybody else out there heading in that direction?

This is a big job.  Let's get started.

Jack

-----Original Message-----
From:	community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
[mailto:community_garden-admin@mallorn.com] On Behalf Of Fred Conrad
Sent:	Friday, September 29, 2000 1:39 PM
To:	'Pohl-Kosbau, Leslie'; 'Honigman, Adam'; community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject:	RE: [cg] kids gardening in toxic waste dumps

you know, i've tested lots where buildings have come down and had the
results range from squeeky clean to high-grade ore, and can't figure a
pattern.  there's just only one way to know for sure.

fgc
Community Garden Coordinator
Atlanta Community Food Bank
970 Jefferson Street, NW
Atlanta, GA  30318


-----Original Message-----
From: Pohl-Kosbau, Leslie [mailto:PKLESLIE@ci.portland.or.us]
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2000 2:17 PM
To: 'Honigman, Adam'; community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: RE: [cg] kids gardening


Adam,
You are on the right track.
If you suspect problems, test the soil. If there are problems and you still
want to use the site, then the area should be capped, and raised beds built
with new soil used for growing. Almost all urban areas these days have some
level of contamination, and we are really fortunate when a clean site is
located.
Leslie Pohl-Kosbau
Portland Community Gardens
Oregon

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