LeadIn(g) the Way
Introduction and relevance: In the fall of 2015, I collaborated with Danielle (the founder of this website) on a Chemical Analysis project examining lead—hence the pun in the title—in soil from community gardens. We examined soil samples from the Bowdoin Organic Garden (BOG) in Brunswick, ME and from the Clinton Community Garden (CCG) in NYC, NY. These gardens weren’t randomly chosen; the BOG is accessible and very prevalent in Bowdoin students’ lives, and the CCG is Danielle’s hometown garden with a history of high lead concentration. Lead, a heavy metal, is a common environmental contaminant that can cause damaging health effects. It’s a possible carcinogen and especially a concern for children, as studies have linked lead exposure to cognitive and behavioral complications1. Much of the produce from these gardens end up on dinner plates, so the results of this research are important. It’s hard to predict how much lead will end up in the plants grown in lead-contaminated soil, but there is a correlation between high lead concentration in soil and more lead detected on crops 2.