Lead in plants could negatively impact human health. Urban gardening is very popular, but city landscapes may contain pollutants such as industrial chemicals and heavy metals. Wyoming researchers tested growing plants in urban soils to determine how to safely raise produce in city environments.In tests growing radishes, the researchers found that soil amended with the charcoal product biochar helped reduce lead amounts in the soil and in plant tissues. Researchers determined that adding water-soluble, inorganic fertilizers to contaminated soils without adding organic matter tended to increase the amount of lead accumulating in plants.Soils high in limestone and calcium are typical in semi-arid regions of the United States such as Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Oregon and Washington.As a result of the research, local gardeners and specialty crop producers were made aware of the risks associated with growing food in areas of unknown, heavy-metal concentrations and possible ways to do so more safely.
Link to full statement on website: https://landgrantimpacts.tamu.edu/impacts/show/5529