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by Wendy Stackhouse · June 11, 2012

Another Reason for Lead Remediation: Composting

A huge compost collection site that has been a collection point for organic waste and an important resource to local gardeners since 1995 has been found to have a dangerous level of lead.

Lead levels in the compost near American Legion Highway have more than doubled since 2005 and lead poisoning standards have just been cut in half, not a good combination for the gardeners of the Boston area. The compost is currently off-limits for use in local gardens.

Why is the lead level rising?

No one knows absolutely why the lead levels have risen but some theories include:


* More participation—as more families contribute to the compost, more material comes from older homes that might have been built and painted before the lead paint ban in 1978. The lead can come from flakes of paint, dust which is created and disturbed when opening doors and windows, or material found under drip lines of homes where lead levels are higher.
* Insecticides
* Fishing line sinkers
* Bullets
* Stained glass
* White sidewalls on tires

Some of those items should never be anywhere near compost, but you never know what contaminants can get into the wrong trash and the compost site is also very close to a highway.

Officials have insisted that no gardeners or their produce have been put in danger as yet, but remember, as we often say, there is no safe level of exposure to lead.


The lead levels are still below the state’s safety limit of 300 parts per million and the federal limit of 400 parts per million, but some would insist that these levels are already set too high. The European Union safety limit for lead in compost used in gardens is 150 parts per million.

The city’s composting program is preparing to remove the compost that is there now and start again, but it will certainly take a long time to achieve again what they thought they had achieved over the past 17 years of collecting, valuable soil supplements for local gardeners. But better that than inadvertently poisoning the fruits of their labor.

Alliance Environmental Group offers lead remediation services and we feel strongly that if you still have lead in your home, it should be removed safely and soon. Lead dust can be released into the air when you open a window or door painted with lead paint. Children can play with or eat lead paint chips which fall off—keep in mind that any lead paint still on a house is very, very old and definitely not stable. Alliance is happy to provide lead paint removal all over California. Contact us and a team will take care of your lead challenges ASAP!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!

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