New Yorkers will claim you can get anything you want in the city. Evidently, clean vegetables are not included. According to various study data, herbs and vegetables grown in New York City community gardens are loaded with lead and other toxic metals.
Vegetables can provide benefits to our skin, teeth, nails, hair, help prevent signs of aging, and even boost our immune system. Although vegetables are an extremely good source of nutrition it is important to make sure they are free of toxins.
Various Studies Show Toxic Substances Found In Veggies
Study data showed that tainted vegetables were found in five of seven plots tested. The root vegetables sampled exceeded safety thresholds for lead. The most toxic vegetable were the carrots located at the Hart to Hart community garden in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The state Health Department’s data showed that they contained 1.95 ppm of the toxic metal, which is nearly 20 times the level considered safe. Murray McBride, a Cornell University professor of soil chemistry and the study’s co-author, said “If they don’t know what the level of lead in the garden, it would be advisable not to grow root crops.”
As said by Howard Mielke, a Tulane Medical School pharmacologist who reviewed the data, “There is no known safe level of lead exposure.”
Once lead is in the body, it can remain there for 30 years causing the following health conditions:
- Permanent learning disabilities
- Behavioral issues
- Hearing problems
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
The veggie data were compiled by researchers at Cornell and State Center For Environmental Health and published this summer in the journal Environmental Pollution. Councilman Corey Johnson, chairman of the council’s health committee called the findings “extremely alarming.” Johnson is urging increased awareness and testing. He also stated that the New Yorkers using these community gardens to grow their own vegetables are exposing themselves to serious health risks. According to a soil study conducted by the same researchers, the lead levels were found to be above federal soil guidelines at 24 out of the 54 city gardens, and the overall toxic soil at 38 gardens.
According to the Parks Department, the gardens involved with the study have all received clean soil and compost. The parks spokeswoman said, “Safety is top priority in all our green spaces, and we have been working closely with community gardens to ensure all food grown is safe to eat. “