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Here’s how to keep homegrown food safe

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Our organic veggies could be growing in contaminated soil.

By Katharine Gammon
Take Part
July 21, 2015

Excerpt:

They found that in the majority of examples, eating vegetables grown in the contaminated soils studied was safe. Levels of contaminants in root vegetables, such as carrots, were higher than in tomatoes and collard greens. But the researchers said there was no reason to avoid gardening in city soils, as long as precautions are taken.

“Washing hands thoroughly after gardening, covering pathways with woodchips or gravel, and keeping soil moist during dry and windy conditions to prevent dust generation are all effective preventative measures to ensure safe gardening,” said Ganga Hettiarachchi, a soil chemist at Kansas State University and lead author of the study.

She pointed out other ways to reduce plants’ uptake of heavy metals from the soil. Adding nutrients to the soil will make plants less likely to absorb toxins. For instance, she said, phosphorus—which is good for healthy root growth—will transform lead into a more stable, less toxic form.

Read the complete article here. `