Lead in my herbs??

illogicalApril 14, 2008

Hi Guys!

I'm new here, will try to behave ; )

Just wondering how concerned I should be about lead getting taken up by the herbs I've just planted all around the edges of the building I live in. My next door neighbors apparently had their soil tested and it came back with fairly high lead levels. I can only assume that there's some lead in my soil if I'm so close to their yard. I'm sure the plants will be fine, but will I be okay if I eat them?

For extra credit, are there any specific herbs that are more or less likely to uptake a lot of lead? I've read a few studies that suggest leafy vegetables like lettuce and cabbage are more likely to be problematic than, say tomatoes or eggplants. Since leafs are what I'm after with most herbs, does that mean they're all in the danger zone?

Thanks in advance!

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I think the link below answers your questions. If it doesn't, I would suspect google can offer up other sources - this was the 2nd link found by google in a search I did.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lead in Soils and Plants

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 5:07PM
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Thanks, that's actually one of the articles I read earlier today. I've found others saying that lead uptake can be a problem, but I haven't found any specific info on herbs. It seems like since they're leafy, they're more prone to lead uptake, but since I'd only use a small amount of herbs per meal, maybe the lead exposure would be minimal regardless.

Dunno, anyone else gardening with lead?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Have your soil tested just because your neighbors soil has lead does not mean your would. Also check to see if your area has Galena or any of the other lead producing ores. Most areas of this country have lead in the soil. It just depends on what form, soluble or not, and how much is present.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 10:13PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Soil contaminates are often taken up and stored in the leafy parts of plants, as well as the stems and roots. That might help to answer your question about the herbs.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:13AM
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sparrowhawk(z4 ME)

I would be less concerned about lead in herbs because you are consuming less. If you are adding vegetables and major food items, I would definitely have a soil test and add raised beds. That wouldn't necessary be a bad idea for your herbs as well. You will end up with healthier plants. Much will depend on the age of your home (think lead based paint and leaded gasoline), and the history of your land.

The best plants I know of for extracting lead are spinach and creeping charlie, aka ground ivy.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:49AM
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Common Ground came into New Orleans after Katrina and did major lead abatement (try googling abatement) using lamb's quarters, collards and sunflowers. The roots draw the lead out of the soil and you throw away the plants. Supposedly the sunflower seeds do not contain lead, but....I wouldn't eat them.
One strange sight out of many in post Katrina New Orleans was my friend's totally wrecked ranch style house, the lawn filled with sunflowers--blooming--in January.
Me, I would grow in a raised bed.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 6:10PM
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Hi Illogical--

If you are still following this thread - would you mind contacting me directly? No worries -- it's all good!

With best regards,

Tamara Amey
GardenWeb Community Manager

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 12:44PM
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