Several of our clients are having their homes scraped and painted this summer. For structures built before 1978, lead-based paint was used. What can be done about lead paint chips in the soil around foundations? Is it safe to eat herbs and plants grown in these areas?
Painting companies should take precautions to lay down plastic on the ground against the foundation as they work on a lead abatement project and to vacuum up debris at the end of each working day. When they pull out, we can help by topdressing planted foundation areas with compost to bind and hold lead and other metals very effectively. Then keep this area covered at all times with a layer of mulch. Particles of lead are conveyed through the air. Do not attempt to grow any edibles in these spaces or disturb the soil. If you need to plant or transplant to cover open bare soil areas, keep disturbance to a minimum and mulch immediately after planting.
It may also be advisable to test this soil to put this concern to rest or to take steps to minimize impact as noted above. Keep play areas away from foundations as well.
We recommend building raised beds for your edibles and to locate them away from old painted structures! Reese and Jeff have been building quite a structure this month in Acton that includes a deer fence and protection against digging critters.