MadSci Network: Botany

Re: How is lead bound to vegetation on the street side?

Date: Sat Jul 23 17:45:50 2005
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 1122016237.Bt

Lead from the air should simply be deposited on external plant surfaces and not
absorbed. Lead is not considered an essential element for plants.

Lead also can get into soil and sometimes is absorbed depending on the plant
species, soil conditions, amount of lead, etc. Lead often becomes unavailable
for plant uptake. Some plant species may absorb lead but just retain it in their
roots and not move it into the shoots. Other can move it into leaves. Rarely
does lead get translocated into fruits. Certain species of plants do accumulate
large amounts of lead and are used in phytoremediation of lead contaminated soils.

Any soil left on harvested parts can also potentially be ingested if the parts
are not washed thoroughly before eating. Lead can cause brain damage and lowered
intelligence in young children, who often ingest lead from paint in the United
States. Children are advised not to play on soil with high lead levels because
they usually ingest some soil.

There are lots of symptoms for lead poisoning in people including headaches,
vomiting, irritability, etc. There are many websites with additional details. 
Google search for lead poisoning symptoms 


Phytoremediation of lead

Frequently asked questions about lead contamination

Lead in the Home Garden and Urban Soil Environment

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