growing healthy soil for healthy communities

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Post on 02-Nov-2014



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Summarizes the results of a community-based participatory research study about lead contamination in urban soil. Urban agriculture is becoming more widespread, but concerns remain about the safety of vegetables grown in urban soil. Lead contamination was found to vary significantly among different locations within a single yard.


  • 1. Growing Healthy Soil for Healthy Communities Childrens Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Translational Research Committee July 30, 2013
  • 2. Pilot Project Team Members Medical College of Wisconsin Sixteenth Street Community Health Center University of Wisconsin-Madison Walnut Way Conservation Corporation *Symbiont: Science, Engineering and Construction
  • 3. Outline Description of the Pre Pilot and Pilot Study Background & Objectives Specific Aims Results Discussion/Next Steps
  • 4. Background Public Health: Lead poisoning remains a top environmental threat to children Urban Agriculture is booming Community-building tool Land disposition strategy Food security & nutrition
  • 5. Objective Test the feasibility of integrating principles of CBPR with environmental site assessment methods to explore the relationship between residential backyard gardening and lead exposure in children and families.
  • 6. Pre-Pilot Urban Gardens and Soil Contaminants (Jan 2011-March 2011) Developed gardening practices structured interview and checklist Collected descriptive data to characterize project neighborhoods Recruited first cohort of 11 gardeners Collected qualitative and quantitative data from residents, including attitudes regarding soil and plant testing, BLL testing and DNR reporting requirements. Developed soil/plant sampling plan
  • 7. Pilot Growing Healthy Soil for Healthy Communities Aug 2011- Present Increased community engagement and resident participation in research Conducted gardening practice interviews, soil and plant tissue testing Communicated findings to community residents and other stakeholders Identified future research directions
  • 8. Methods Overview Recruitment Randomly selected properties pre-screened for presence of a garden using MCAMLIS and ArcGIS software In person canvassing of prescreened properties to confirm backyard gardening activities confirm children/grandchildren < 6 years old Primary Data Structured Interviews and Checklist Residential Soil and Produce Commercial Soil and Produce Community feedback sessions
  • 9. Methods: Residential Soil Sampling Three Locations Garden Lawn Drip Line Two Depths Surface Layer (top 3.5) Deeper Layer (3.5 to 6) X-Ray Florescence (XRF) & Lab Analysis
  • 10. Methods: How did we operationalize CBPR? Iterative Process Iterative process that sought input and feedback from residents through: Expansion of research team to include 2 more neighborhood residents Focus groups Community feedback sessions Topics Covered: Informed consent process Data collection methods XRF vs. laboratory methods Aggregate interview, soil and plant results Next steps/Action Research agenda
  • 11. Results: Interviews (Combined pre-pilot and pilot) Neighborhood 1 (n=9) More than half (56%) of participants were in 25-44 age groups Children participated in gardening activities Picking (78%) Planting (78%) Watering (78%) Preparing (44%) Weeding (44%) Tilling (22%) Neighborhood 2 (n=11) The majority (64%) of participants were in 55+ age groups Children participated in gardening activities: Picking (100%) Planting (82%) Watering (73%) Weeding (73%) Preparing (55%) Tilling (18%)
  • 12. Results: Soil Testing XRF measurements compared to laboratory methods XRF performed well about 95% accurate compared to the more expensive and time consuming laboratory methods
  • 13. Results: Residential Soil Contamination Participant Report
  • 14. Results: Summary of Lead in Soil for All Participants Site Minimum Maximum Average Parts per million (ppm) lead (Pb) Garden 8 2,370 396 Drip Line 16 3,234 691 Lawn 8 1,107 272 Site Minimum Maximum Average Parts per million (ppm) lead (Pb) Garden 29 1,982 439 Drip Line 16 2,779 602 Lawn 7 1,049 235 Surface 0 to 3.5 inches 3.5 to 6 inches
  • 15. Results: Vegetables Vegetable # Lead (Pb) - ppm Onions 10 0.22 Peppers 10 0.14 Tomatoes 10 0.34 Zucchini 8 0.48 Store- or Market-Bought Produce Residential Produce # Lead (Pb) - ppm Leafy Vegetables 19 2.7 Root Vegetables 4 1.5 Tomatoes and Peppers 23 0.7
  • 16. Results: Commercial Soils Very Low Lead Similar to natural background levels in non-contaminated soils Soil Lead Content (ppm) WalMart Miracle Gro Organic Choice 6 Home Depot EarthGrow Topsoil 11 Home Depot Scotts Topsoil 7 Growing Power 6
  • 17. Interpretation of Results 1200 ppm: do not garden, cover with grass 0 400 800 1200 1600 Parts per million (ppm) of lead (Pb) in soil * Thresholds as specified by US Environmental Protection Agency * * Results: Interpretation for Residents
  • 18. Risk Reduction Strategies >1200 ppm Lead in Soil Eliminate exposure to bare soil Remove contaminated soil; Cover with walking stones or bark chips; Plant grass and fertilize to ensure dense cover 400 to 1200 ppm Range Minimize exposure to soil Wash vegetables to remove soil; Use door mats to keep soil out of home; Wash hands after gardening Reduce the bioavailability of lead in the soil Apply phosphorus fertilizer to the garden; Add compost or topsoil to dilute contaminated soil < 400 ppm Range The EPA requires no action, but following the practices previously discussed is a good idea, especially as levels approach 400 ppm Results: Interpretation for Residents
  • 19. Results: How did we operationalize CBPR? Capacity Building Two community residents joined the research team 1 hired as a part-time community research associate 1 chose a volunteer role Received training and participated in: revising data collection tools canvassing, recruitment and retention conducting structured interviews and focus groups (as either interviewer or note taker) lead sampling technician training (1 CBO staff/resident,1 CBO staff/nonresident)
  • 20. Results: How did we operationalize CBPR? Dissemination Community Campus Partnerships for Health Annual Conference (2012) MPTV 4th Street Forum (2012) Lindsay Heights Research Council (2012) MCW Clinical Translational Science Institute Research in Progress Seminar (2011) MCW Public and Community Health Doctoral Seminar (2012) UWM Zilber School of Public Health, Social and Environmental Justice PhD Course Lecture (2013) WDNR Brownfield Study Group (2013) CEHSCC External Advisors Meeting (2013) Progress in Community Health Partnerships (manuscript accepted, July 2013)