Return to the Edible Landscape Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Lead in house paint?

Posted by iowafarmersdaughter 4 (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 18:46

I want to plant some zucchini, and sweet potatoes in a bed under my dining room window. The exterior paint is peeling on my 100+ year old house, and I am sure some of the a paint chips have fallen in the bed. I have no idea how old some of the chips might be, because there probably has been paint on paint through the years. I don't want to spend a lot of money to find out, and it is getting late in the season to wait for test results to come back. Does anyone know if exterior paint contained lead in by gone years, and should I be concerned?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lead in house paint?

Lead paints were banned around 1978; prior to that many housepaints, especially oil-based exterior paints, were likely to contain lead. It would be wise to have the soil tested for lead before growing edibles in it. If you wish to proceed without the soil test, I would recommend planting in containers or in a deep raised bed with landscape cloth beneath the fill to prevent roots from going down into the native soil. Either of these options would mean you would have to pay more attention to watering and fertilizing.

RE: Lead in house paint?

I agree w/ agardenstateof_mind. I've actually done quite a bit of study regarding Pb (lead) as my son (now 14) was lead poisoned before he was 2 y/o and we lived in a beautiful old Victorian. Any house that has been painted and was built prior to 1978 will have lead paint on there somewhere. Paint doesn't have to be peeling. Years of rainwater wash it into the soil. Just opening a window where there is still lead paint even under some latex can created Pb dust. Plantings must be at LEAST 10 feet from the perimeter of the foundation (if any part of the plant will be some how consumed) with the exception of strawberries (funny, huh?). I'm not sure about other berries but roots and especially greens readily take up the lead. It is dangerous to anyone in the surrounding environment (due to wind) to dry scrape leaded paint; one should wet scrape and collect all scrapings in a tarp for hazardous waste disposal. Check with the Iowa State DEM; I imagine that there are laws regarding this and here in New England (many old leaded Victorians), the DEM has classes and a lot of free information/consultants, etc. re: Pb in homes/soil.

RE: Lead in house paint?

A later thought; I think that the above link can answer a lot of questions that you may have re: lead in your soil. That close to your house, you'd 1st need to seal in the lead with special sealants rendering the exterior 'lead safe' and then use raised beds with an impermeable barrier in between the actual original soil and soil brought in from elsewhere.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Edible Landscape Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here