Paper No. 74-9
Presentation Time: 3:20 PM
LEAD CONCENTRATION IN URBAN COMMUNITY GARDENS AND RESIDENTIAL SOILS IN NORTHERN NEW JERSEY
Urban community gardens or urban agriculture practices are becoming increasingly popular as a source of locally grown foods in neighborhoods in New Jersey. This trend is creating a new urban land-use pattern. Urban community gardens are often located on vacant lots in neighborhoods with historically elevated concentrations of heavy metal, especially Pb. Gardening and related recreational usage of these lots, may increase potential exposure to soil contaminants through soil re-suspension and incidental soil ingestion. This study investigated particle size distribution, pH and Pb concentration in urban community gardens as well as residential soils in Hudson County, New Jersey. The community garden soil samples were collected from raised beds, while the residential soil was collected in place. The Pb concentrations in soils were determined using a portable Niton XRF. The Pb concentration in the garden soils (Weehawken) varied from 52 to 364 µg/g. However, the samples from an area nearby the parking lot have consistently higher level of Pb concentrations (average: 206 ±80 µg/g) compared to those from an open area (82 ±15 µg/g). On the other hand, the Pb concentration from the residential soils often exceeded 1300 µg/g. Therefore, the consumption of vegetables and fruits grown in such urban settings may pose health risks, as the products may have the ability to bioaccumulate Pb and other potentially toxic elements.