Are Heavy Metals an Issue?

No! From the information we have, we are confident that vegetables grown at Blue House Greenhouse Farm are not only safe to eat, they are delicious! Well, the delicious part is more subjective 🙂

There has been a lot of discussion around our community and in the media regarding heavy metal pollutants, specifically, arsenic and cadmium, from two glass factories in SE and N Portland. Because Blue House Greenhouse Farm is a few blocks outside of the one mile radius of the glass factory in N Portland, I have received a number of inquiries regarding the farm, its possible threat of pollution, and whether it is safe to consume vegetables grown on the land.

Since these factories were discovered as sources of heavy metal pollution, the Oregon Health Authority has created several informative documents on this subject. They released a Technical Brief regarding the risks for gardening and consuming garden grown foods in areas nearby the glass manufacturing facilities and HEALTHY SOILS: Information about testing your yard or garden. Below is a chart from the latter document showing background levels (levels that heavy metals naturally occur in soil) for the Portland area as well as the guidelines for residential levels (amounts below these levels are considered safe for yard soil on residential properties which are the most stringent standards).

heavy metals chart

Here are the results of our most recent tests:



According to the heavy metals tests for the farm, we are well within the Portland Basin Background Levels or the DEQ Residential Screening Levels for the heavy metals that are of concern. Please feel free to email us with any questions, comments, or concerns.