Green, growing plants and vibrant flowers drastically improve upon broken concrete, crumbling brick, rusted chain-link, and shattered glass. However, there are different challenges to gardening in the city, and one of the biggest issues for urban gardeners is lead in soils.
Although adults can be affected by lead, children, especially those under 6, are at the highest risk of serious lead poisoning. Minor symptoms of lead poisoning will go away over time if the lead source is removed, but severe damage is permanent. There is no known safe threshold of lead in the blood for children; any lead at all in the body is a concern.
What Are Safe Levels of Lead in Soil?
What does this have to do with urban gardening? Lead contaminates many city soils. All soil contains a small amount of lead, measured in parts per million (ppm). Normal soils can contain 10 to 50 ppm of lead. Many governments and researchers have established guidelines for lead in soil.
Read Lead in Urban Soil by Andrew Weidman at The Heirloom Gardener.