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Accumulation of arsenic and lead in garden-grown vegetables: Factors and mitigation strategies
- Paltseva, Anna, Cheng, Zhongqi, Deeb, Maha, Groffman, Peter M., Shaw, Richard K., Maddaloni, Mark
- The Science of the total environment 2018 v.640-641 pp. 273-283
- agricultural land, arsenic, bone meal, carrots, cleaning, composted manure, dust, farms, gardens, iron, lead, lettuce, manganese, pesticides, radishes, raised beds, risk, risk reduction, safety standards, soil amendments, soil pH, suburban areas, sulfur, tomatoes, triple superphosphate, New Jersey
- Pesticides containing lead and arsenic were widely used in the US through the 20th century. Legacy contamination from this use poses a health risk as interest in cultivation of abandoned agricultural lands has grown in recent years. We addressed these risks by quantifying Pb and As in soils and produce from a suburban farm in New Jersey, USA and examining the ability of phosphate-bearing amendments (bone meal, triple super phosphate, manure compost and raised bed soil) in combination with Fe and/or Mn amendments to stabilize these metals and prevent their movement into vegetables. Common produce (tomato, carrot, lettuce, and radish) was grown in soils with 133–307 mg Pb kg−1 and 19–73 mg As kg−1. Our results suggest that vegetables produced on these soils can have Pb and As at levels above health and safety standards, especially root and leafy green vegetables. Phosphate-bearing amendments can reduce extractable Pb but can increase extractable As in soils, and can have similar effects on vegetables. Iron amendment increased both extractable Pb and As, likely due to the presence of elemental sulfur in the Fe amendment, which lowered soil pH, while Mn amendment had the opposite effect. Most of the Pb and As in vegetables appear to be associated with soil particles adhered to the vegetables, and the contribution from uptake was relatively small except for plots treated with Fe-amendments and for carrots. Thus, proper crop selection, rigorous cleaning, and dust and dirt control are critical to reduce the risk of contaminant exposure through the consumption of garden produce.