Some community garden-fresh eggs have detectable levels of lead in them, unlike their store-bought counterparts—levels that are close to dangerous, the Times reports. The Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment tested 58 eggs from community gardens in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx and found that 28 of them “contained lead in amounts of 10 to 73 parts per billion, with one egg having more than 100 parts per billion.”
Lead, the paper reports, is harmful to humans even at very low quantities. The Department of Health doesn’t want people to eat lead, but they also want people to eat fresh eggs, so it hasn’t responded with hysteria but instead is urging caution. The FDA has no standard for acceptable levels of lead in eggs, but the maximum for other foods, here and abroad, is often 100 parts per billion.
Not everybody is worried. “The benefits of raising your children with an awareness of where your food comes from and having an honest relationship with your livestock way, way outweighs the possibility that they might encounter a heavy metal,” one Red Hook chicken owner told the Times. “If your alternatives are trusting the industrial food system versus what’s in your backyard,” he said, the decision was easy.
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