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Wayne State researchers taking a close look at urban farm safety

Hantz Farms

Wayne State University researchers are taking a close look at some of the potential hazards of urban agriculture.

They’ve launched a three-year study at several farm sites around Detroit, to examine soil and vegetable samples from those sites for “physical, chemical, and biological contaminants,” says Yifan Zhang, assistant professor of food and nutrition at Wayne State.

Zhang says that so far, there’s been very little research into all the potential contaminants of that environment and how they interact. “So this time, we want to do a thorough study of all those hazards in urban agriculture,” she says.

Some examples are heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, and food-borne bacteria.

“Ultimately, we want to develop mitigation strategies to control these hazards,” says Zhang.

Zhang says some preliminary results should be available later this year.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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