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Down and Dirty Facts about Lead Contaminants in Soil

Posted: May 3rd, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Now that warm weather is here, you are no doubt starting your garden again. One thing you may not have considered is the amount of lead in the soil in your garden. Lead poisoning can cause children to be overly active, inattentive, and even a small amount in a child can lower intelligence and slow nervous system development. A recent expose entitled “Ghost Factories: Poison in the Ground” was published in USA TODAY on April 20, 2012 and it pointed out the seriousness of lead contamination in geographic areas on or near old lead smelters. Lead levels in the soil samples collected by USA TODAY were generally highest in locations like Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia, usually in the areas where industrial sites are or were located. Read more »

The Gardener’s Guide to Poison Prevention

Posted: April 26th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Just the other day, one of our super certified poison information specialists (CSPI) was shopping at a local grocery store and found a packet of castor bean seeds in the gardening section. While most would be dazed by the beautiful flowers these seeds produce, at the Illinois Poison Center we are all too familiar with the poison contained in castor beans, ricin.  Ricin is derived from castor beans and can be refined and manufactured as a chemical weapon. Potentially toxic plants around homes are always a concern for the IPC staff. With the spring-planting season upon us, we want to provide our readers with some very important information they need in order to become more educated gardeners. Read more »