Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Composted Biosolids Bind Lead in Soil, Reducing Danger of Poisoning. (EH Update)

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Composted Biosolids Bind Lead in Soil, Reducing Danger of Poisoning. (EH Update)

Article excerpt

The addition of composted biosolids rich in iron, manganese, and organic matter to a lead-contaminated home garden in Baltimore appears to bind the lead, according to a study published in the January/February 2003 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality As a result, the lead is less likely to be absorbed into the bloodstreams of children who dirty their hands playing outside or are tempted to taste mud pies they have "baked" in the backyard.

The bioavailability of lead in the soil was lowered by 20 percent to 38 percent after composted biosolids were mixed with the contaminated garden soil. The best mixture for reducing bioavailability was made from Baltimore biosolids that contained more iron and manganese than the others tested.

Biosolids are the organic residuals produced during wastewater treatment. Once composted, biosolids look like other commercially available composts and are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) for use as a soil amendment.

The study, funded by the nonprofit Water Environment Research Federation, tested seven different biosolids and composted biosolid treatments, adding 3 inches of each to different areas of the garden, then thoroughly mixing the soils weekly for 30 days. …

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