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Atlanta Residents’ Knowledge Regarding Heavy Metal Exposures and Remediation in Urban Agriculture

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Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, 400 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
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Department of Health Policy, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
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Department of Environmental Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30322; USA
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Historic Westside Gardens Atlanta, Inc., Atlanta, GA 30314, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2069; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062069
Received: 18 February 2020 / Revised: 11 March 2020 / Accepted: 17 March 2020 / Published: 20 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Urban agriculture and gardening provide many health benefits, but the soil is sometimes at risk of heavy metal and metalloid (HMM) contamination. HMM, such as lead and arsenic, can result in adverse health effects for humans. Gardeners may face exposure to these contaminants because of their regular contact with soil and consumption of produce grown in urban areas. However, there is a lack of research regarding whether differential exposure to HMM may be attributed to differential knowledge of exposure sources. In 2018, industrial slag and hazardous levels of soil contamination were detected in West Atlanta. We conducted community-engaged research through surveys and follow-up interviews to understand awareness of slag, HMM in soil, and potential remediation options. Home gardeners were more likely to recognize HMM health effects and to cite health as a significant benefit of gardening than community gardeners. In terms of knowledge, participants were concerned about the potential health effects of contaminants in soil yet unconcerned with produce in their gardens. Gardeners’ knowledge on sources of HMM exposure and methods for remediation were low and varied based on racial group. View Full-Text
Keywords: heavy metals; gardening; Atlanta; soil; lead; arsenic; urban agriculture heavy metals; gardening; Atlanta; soil; lead; arsenic; urban agriculture
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Balotin, L.; Distler, S.; Williams, A.; Peters, S.J.; Hunter, C.M.; Theal, C.; Frank, G.; Alvarado, T.; Hernandez, R.; Hines, A.; Saikawa, E. Atlanta Residents’ Knowledge Regarding Heavy Metal Exposures and Remediation in Urban Agriculture. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2069.

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