Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Urban gardeners may be unaware of how best to manage contaminants in soil

Date:
March 31, 2014
Source:
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summary:
Researchers have identified a range of factors and challenges related to the perceived risk of soil contamination among urban community gardeners and found a need for clear and concise information on how best to prevent and manage soil contamination.

Consuming foods grown in urban gardens may offer a variety of health benefits, but a lack of knowledge about the soil used for planting could pose a health threat for both consumers and gardeners. In a new study from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), researchers identified a range of factors and challenges related to the perceived risk of soil contamination among urban community gardeners and found a need for clear and concise information on how best to prevent and manage soil contamination. The results are featured online in PLOS ONE.

"While the benefits are far-reaching, gardening in urban settings can also create opportunities for exposure to contaminants such as heavy metals, petroleum products, and asbestos, which may be present in urban soils," said Keeve Nachman, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Food Production and Public Health Program with CLF. "Our study suggests gardeners generally recognize the importance of knowing a garden site's prior uses, but they may lack the information and expertise to determine accurately the prior use of their garden site and potential contaminants in the soil. They may also have misperceptions or gaps in knowledge about how best to minimize their risk of exposure to contaminants that may be in urban soil.

According to CLF researchers, urban soils are often close to pollution sources, such as industrial areas and heavily trafficked roads. As a result, many soil contaminants have been found at higher concentrations in urban centers.

To characterize urban community gardeners' knowledge and perceptions of soil contamination risks and reducing exposure, researchers conducted surveys among urban community gardeners and semi-structured interviews with key informants in the gardening community in Baltimore, Maryland. Informants included individuals whose job function or organizational affiliation makes them knowledgeable about Baltimore City community gardening and soil contamination.

"People may come into contact with these contaminants if they work or play in contaminated soil, or eat food that was grown in it. In some cases, exposure to soil contaminants can increase disease risks, especially for young children," said Brent Kim, MHS, lead author of the paper and a program officer with CLF. "Given the health, social, environmental and economic benefits associated with participating in and supporting urban green spaces, it is critical to protect the viability of urban community gardens while also ensuring a safe gardening environment."

For more information, including resources for urban farmers and gardeners, please visit the Center for a Livable Future's Urban Soil Safety page.

The research was funded in part by Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute and the GRACE Communications Foundation. The research was conducted in partnership with the Community Greening Resource Network.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brent F. Kim, Melissa N. Poulsen, Jared D. Margulies, Katie L. Dix, Anne M. Palmer, Keeve E. Nachman. Urban Community Gardeners' Knowledge and Perceptions of Soil Contaminant Risks. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (2): e87913 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087913

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Urban gardeners may be unaware of how best to manage contaminants in soil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331143118.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2014, March 31). Urban gardeners may be unaware of how best to manage contaminants in soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331143118.htm
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Urban gardeners may be unaware of how best to manage contaminants in soil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331143118.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins