CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The allotments lead is not a danger

15 July, 2021

The allotments in Belsize Park

• LEAD in soil is not dangerous unless you eat or inhale it, just as a sheet of lead on a roof is not dangerous unless you drop a ton on your foot, (Allotments to be dug up after ‘toxic soil’ discovery, July 9).

Near old lead mines in Derbyshire the chickens die because they peck up pieces of lead ore and use it for the grinding system in their gizzards, but people and grazing animals eating plants from the same soil don’t get poisoned, because the plants don’t pick up the lead.

The council have given no indication that anyone could get a dangerous amount of lead at the site. The news from 400 years ago is that “all substances are poison only the dose ensures that a substance is or is not a poison”.

Pure oxygen is a danger. Drinking too much water is a danger. The allotments which the council say are unsuitable for growing vegetables and propose to wreck are not a danger.

ANDRE MCLEAN
Emeritus Professor of Toxicology
Albert Street, NW1

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