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Syracuse Lead Lawyers On Toxic Contamination Of Community Gardens

According to the Post Standard and a recent study conducted by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, lead levels were elevated in the dirt from all but one Syracuse-area garden tested. The gardens tested around Syracuse include: Isabella Street Community Garden, West Newell Street Garden, Avery Avenue Garden, Lipe Art Park, Wescott Garden, Townsend Garden.

Many of the gardens, which are located on the City’s north and south sides, are maintained by resident gardeners who have worked for years in the dirt and soil. These residents, who today learned that they may have been exposed to lead and other toxic chemicals, are understandably upset. Especially as, according to the study, the City of Syracuse may have been once source of the contamination.

Normal lead levels are 40-50 ppm. The levels in the gardens tested ranged from 46-820 ppm. More disturbing was the fact that the arsenic levels were even higher. Normal arsenic levels are 0.4 ppm. In all but one garden tested, the levels were 8-17 ppm. Possible sources of the lead contamination include roadway runoff laced with pre-1986 lead gasoline additives, lead-paint from homes, and topsoil trucked by the City to the gardens – topsoil which the City collected from Syracuse-area yard waste. The arsenic contamination like came from decomposing pressure-treated wood and/or pesticides.

Chemicals in the gardens is a cause of concern for many, as dozens of residents have worked the soil for years. Some of the gardens have also been used to grow food. Without proper precautions, lead and arsenic can be absorbed by the body through contact.

There is no safe level of exposure to lead or paint. Lead exposure can make adults sick and can cause permanent neurological and brain damage in children. Arsenic exposure has been linked to damage to the circulatory systems as well as cancer.

The Post Standard quoted Mable Wilsonm founder of the Newell Street Community Garden, as saying that “[i]t feels like environmental discrimination. This is our community. You are tearing it down. At least put down good soil.”

The trial lawyers at Bottar Law, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict all types of pollution, air contamination, soil contamination and toxic exposure cases, including injuries due to exposure to cigarette smoke, automobile pollution, gasoline vapors, asbestos, lead and mold. If you or a loved one have been sickened due to exposure to unhealthy air or soil, you and/or your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.

To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York toxic tort attorney, contact Bottar Law, PLLC now at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at

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