San Francisco: A Case Study


A. Project Summary

The following pages highlight the findings of a research project which looked at heavy metal concentrations in 100 vegetable gardens in the southeast of San Francisco, CA.  Email sfGardeners@gmail.com for more information on the project or download the entire findings.

The results show:

  • Raised bed gardens tend to have less metals than
    in-ground gardens;
  • There are differences in metal levels, especially for lead, between the five zip codes studied;
  • There does not seem to be a significant difference in the amount of lead found in San Francisco gardens based the average household income of the surrounding area;
  • High levels of lead are more often found in predominately White neighborhoods, and to a much lesser extent Hispanic neighborhoods that border White neighborhoods, than neighborhoods dominated by Asian/Pacific Islanders or African Americans; and
  • The zip codes with the oldest homes have higher amounts of lead in backyard garden soils than gardens in zip codes with much newer homes.

Click on the links below to learn more about the project and it's findings: