From here we have to figure out just how dangerous these contaminants are, and that’s where things start to get a little complex 😊 New research from Washington University helps to explain the impact of lead contamination in urban garden soils 😊 It finds that despite higher levels of lead in urban garden soils, that doesn’t necessarily translate to lead-filled produce. Plants do absorb the lead in soil, sometimes, but it’s kept in the roots, not moved through the stems and into leaves or fruits. That means that carrots might be slightly higher in lead when grown in an urban garden, but tomatoes won’t. However, tomatoes and other above-ground vegetables are more susceptible to pollution and strange urban debris. However, washing is the best way to do that.
Touché—the window box off my ground-floor apartment in San Francisco indeed overlooks one of the busier intersections in the city, traversed daily by thousands of cars, hybrid-electric city buses, even the hated diesel Google bus. The urbanity of the city is always in my mind: I can see it every day when I open my window. Plant or water I can’t avoid awkward eye contact with bus riders. My window box contained a couple of chipsticks and some potato chips that I foundad found last week. (It’s luckily out of arm’s reach for the average passerby, but well within tossing height.) But before my friend’s momentous refusal, I admit I hadn’t thought once about the safety of eating what I was growing out there. Last edited by Tekia from Pietermaritzburg (South Africa), 5 weeks ago
Thegreenconspiracy.com It also points out that cities, despite our progress as humans, are still dirty, stinky, and prone to pollution from factories, cars, and other sources. It is important to remember that cities can be very old, especially in Europe. And so it’s pretty much a given that the ground has been used for countless things before. What about the possibility that harmful substances were left behind by these past activities? Well, that’s something one would have to consider if and when planning an actual soil-based garden. Last modified by Shelbi Cristshaw (Samara, Russia), 77 days ago
So let’s turn our attention to the congested road outside your window. Is it possible that the traffic idling outside your window is putting something undesirable on your leafy greens. Exhaust can contain a variety of harmful ingredients, including particulate matter and ozone-forming Hydrocarbons. The few studies I’ve found on airborne toxics getting into veggies (this one and this one) did find that gardens located near busy roads tested positive for heavy metals including lead and for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and the EPA reports that garden contaminants like lead, zinc, and PAHs are indeed associated with traffic. But here’s the good news: All that stuff washes right off. So if you’re not already in the very good habit of giving your produce a hearty rinse before eating, it’s time to start. This is not a bad thing, but it might be time to save your salad. The EPA states that these substances can also cause respiratory issues and heart disease. We appreciate Filemon Higginbotham’s attention to this.