Last week, we shared the shocking, devastating and completely surprising news that the air we breathe is basically poison. “Oh no!” everyone yelled, as they hopped in their cars or fell asleep with the lights on, needlessly burning fossil fuels. And we guess it must be “Terrifying, Not Too Surprising News” Month (in addition to Bike Month), because it turns out that food grown in New York City community gardens very well may be full of poison too. It’s almost like the city is actively trying to kill us.
The news comes courtesy of the Post, who hit the Department of Health with a FOIL request following a study of the soil in 54 city community gardens. 24 of the 54 gardens had soil with lead levels higher than the federal guidelines allow, and 38 of the 54 gardens had soil that could generally be counted as “toxic.” This includes the Sterling Community Group Garden in Crown Heights, which was growing vegetables in soil with triple the amount of allowed lead and almost six times the amount of allowed arsenic.
Of course, this is as much a story of government incompetence as it is “we live in a trash heap,” since if the soil was replaced, a number of these problems are probably avoided. The study, undertaken by the state’s Center for Environmental Health studied gardens the city owns, so you don’t have to necesarily freak out about your local community one if it’s independent. Still couldn’t hurt to get the soil tested though. Or hell, just eat the chemicals, maybe your kid will wind up being an X-Man.