Urban Chickens in WaPo, Lead in Urban Soil in NYT


T-boone-lives Don't miss Adrian Higgins' charming story about DC-area chickens in today's Washington Post.  I was Adrian's scout for interviewees, so it's no surprise that it features my friends and neighbors, including Robin Wedewer, with a star turn by her rooster T. Boone Chickens.  I recommend the slide show – despite a 10-second ad – where you'll see Robin's stylish hen house.

And today's NY Times has a comprehensive story about lead in urban soils.

Photo of T. Boone and his gals by Robin.


  1. I was disappointed that the Times didn’t give my blog a mention anywhere in the article, nor link Brooklyn College’s Environmental Sciences Analytical Center to the online mention of it.

    This wasn’t a story about blogs, but about lead in the garden. But I do think this story originated on the web and much of the info in it comes straight off the web.

    A few months ago Dr. Cheng at Brooklyn College found my blog and asked if he could advertise his soil testing service on it. I was already looking for local sources of this service, as I posted (http://nycgarden.blogspot.com/2009/02/my-farm.html). His prices were super reasonable and his lab was in the heart of Brooklyn. He wasn’t fully aware of the interest in soil testing by gardeners. Since listing the service on NYCGARDEN, he has gotten many many samples and because he runs a research lab, he’s envisioning compiling the data and mapping metal contaminants in city soils. He’s very concerned with the air quality as affected by the dusts blowing off soils and construction sites. The lab is also working on instituting testing for Volatile Organic Compounds, hydrocarbons like PCBs and motor oil, etc in the soil.

    I thought I would give Dr. Cheng some props for getting all that going in NYC. He needed an interface that moved beyond the dry science aspect and spoke directly to gardeners. Thats where nycgarden came in. Reporter has story that should be told, finds my blog. Just wish the blog was mentioned.



  2. Having collected research on lead in soil over a period of years, and advised new gardeners on lead and soil testing, I also was disppointed at the thin-ness of the Times piece. It doesn’t reference any research on the issue, especially the question of whether–and to what extent–lead is actually taken up by vegetable roots. Washing and peeling root vegetables is a given. How did the EPA arrive at its threshold levels for lead in garden soil? Where is the science behind this? The Times leaves us in the dark.

  3. Ultimately, that is the question. What shall we do about it? Is it a serious concern, or really not that big a deal? What is the science? What have been the effects of lead in our vegetables? Surely there has been a hundred years of lead being in garden/agricultural soil. Has there been any studies regarding the effects on adult health after vegetable gardening in high lead-levels soil?

    And what about the other metals? Lead is a hot button. There have been many studies on the effects of children eating lead. So Lead sells, people know to be concerned about it. But there are so many different numbers out there. I think we call that “confusion.”

    There is some research about lead being absorbed less in the fruiting bodies of vegetables, more in the green areas of the plant. But the question is: how much lead is toxic to our bodies? Apparently, lead was used as a sweetener years ago. It was added to wine. It was an agent in arsenic pesticides applied to fruit trees. http://nycgarden.blogspot.com/2009/03/mutterings-on-mutter-thats-mooter-to.html

    We need a scientific analysis of the affects on our health of ingested lead.

    Let’s say this story is an opening shot in a long volley on the topic.

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