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02 Nov 2015: Urban Fruit Less Polluted and
Often More Nutritious Than Retail Versions

Ciaran Gallagher/Dan Brabander
Measuring nutrients and pollutants in urban fruits.
Fruits grown in urban areas, often in abandoned orchards from previous centuries, are proving not only largely free of pollutants, but more nutritious than their commercial counterparts, according to research from Wellesley College. Joining forces with the League of Urban Canners, a citizen's group based in Boston, the researchers analyzed nearly 200 samples of apples, peaches, cherries, and other urban fruits and herbs, along with commercial varieties of the same foods. Their findings suggest that eating urban fruit is not a significant source of lead exposure, as compared to the Environmental Protection Agency's regulated benchmark for lead in drinking water. The concentrations of the nutrients' calcium and iron found were higher in urban fruits for every fruit type tested, while manganese, zinc, magnesium, and potassium concentrations were higher in certain urban fruit types. That is most likely because soils in commercial orchards and fields can become nutrient-depleted, explained Wellesley professor Dan Brabander. "This is a story with a good ending," he said. "Not much lead in these urban-harvested fruits."


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