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Elevated Zinc Levels--huh? and how would you handle it?  RSS feed

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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and what would sepp holzer do? (Don't tell me pigs eat zinc straight out of the soil, I don't have pigs. Jealous of you who do.)

I mean, levels are 30, 32, 19 , it's supposed to be 7 at most by the Umass lab's numbers, my soil expert friend said 2:1 zinc:copper ratio (which would mean 1.2 ppm zinc and .6 ppm copper maximum, by the Umass numbers). Wasn't there a Simpson's episode where they showed a documentary about a guy who wished zinc had never existed and suddenly batteries didn't work anymore and so on? He might be on to something.

Bio-accumulators? a lack of ____ problem? dilute with a ton more compost? alchemical stone dust that turns zinc into lead? and a way of working it into the soil?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 558
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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PS also, where is all that zinc coming from, is there a way to stop more of it? if it's the roof...any bright ideas how to get the roof NOT to drop zinc into the yard but keep dropping water? if it's not the roof, then what could it be
 
Amedean Messan
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Well, the good news is that zinc and copper are essential minerals for the human body. From what I am told, mineralized water constitutes an average of 5 percent of the daily human diet for minerals. The rest is acquired through food. Ideal diets for sexually active men include 14 mg of zinc a day according to some sources I have read. Men require more zinc than women. I just read that 900 mcg of copper is recommended per day for both men and women. These numbers can be considered generalized estimations (ball park).

I looked online for a parts per million to grams per liter conversion to give a visual sense of your mineral consumption.

1ppm = 0.000998859 g/L (via http://www.unitconversion.org/)

This means unless mistaken:

1ppm = 0.99859 mg/L (milligrams per liter) (for zinc)
1ppm = 998.59 mcg/L (micrograms per liter) (for copper)

Question before I finish my calculations - what are your parts per million levels for copper and zinc? Is it 1.2 ppm of zinc and 0.6 ppm of copper? I am going to assume my last question describes your situation so I can do some calculations.



Zinc calculations based on 1.2 ppm:

(1.2 ppm)*(0.99859 mg/L) = 1.19863 mg/L

(1.19863/14)*100% = 8.5714%

This means you will have to drink 1 liter of water to get 8.6 percent of your daily recommended intake of zinc.




Copper calculations based on 0.6 ppm:

(0.6 ppm)*(998.59 mcg/L) = 599.154 mcg/L

(599.154/900)*100% = 66.5727%

This means you will have to drink 1 liter of water to get 66.6 percent of your daily recommended intake of copper.


Looks like the copper should be lower more than the zinc at these numbers. Also consider that naturally occurring zinc deposits are also commonly high in cadmium which is not good. Lots of zinc supplements are high in cadmium because of this simple natural association. Aside from that, unfortunately I think you are limited in practical options to demineralize water at a fast enough rate for human consumption. Water distillation via natural rain catchment or at home water distillation are the safest bets. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems can help too. If you are worried about losing minerals from your diet with these approaches I would remind you that most of your mineral absorption occurs through diet. If you eat lots of fruits and vegetables there is no issue. As for accumulation of minerals in crops that you harvest on this land, I would recommend a painful process of growing crops and testing them in a food lab if this is a real concern to you.
 
Judith Browning
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:PS also, where is all that zinc coming from, is there a way to stop more of it? if it's the roof...any bright ideas how to get the roof NOT to drop zinc into the yard but keep dropping water? if it's not the roof, then what could it be


I think that you have hit on the important questions. I think that dietary zinc, through our food or as supplements, is different than zinc that can leach from batteries, paint and galvanized metals. Do you know the history of that area that was tested?

one source of info http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/factsheets/zinc.htm
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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My property has manganese levels at the levels you have zinc. I took that to mean that if I ever choose to add minerals I don't need to bother with manganese. The UMass report states that the ranges reported are just what they normally see and are not necessarily the optimal range:

Micronutrient deficiencies rarely occur in New England soils; therefore, an Optimum Range has never been defined. Values provided represent the normal range found in soils and are for reference only.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 558
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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John, that's exactly right. I saw that this morning before I even got back to this thread.
Still, the fact that it's way higher than usually seen does seem worth noting. And the fact that my friend's guideline is 2:1 zinc:copper, and I have closer to 60:1. I think it's worth finding out where the zinc is coming from. ("the zincs are coming from inside the house!") I'm not trying to drink the water here, though thanks for the numbers on that. To clarify, the numbesr were for my soil sample, not for water; the water may be the source of the weird numbers in the soil .

The other weird thing is that I did the samples to 1' depth, as directed, and if zinc in the water has been running over the surface of the soil and not soaking in for years (as it seems to have done a lot of before I started trying to capture and soak more) then god knows how high the zinc on the _surface_ may be.

This whole urban permaculture thing would be a heck of a lot easier if the house were just sort of not there...

So I found a list of zinc-tolerant plants, that's something, but what i'd really like to find is zinc accumulators. Ragweed grew here naturally, though it didn't get really big or anything, and that is a lead accumulator--might it also be slurping up excess zinc??

What plant-based foods are really high in zinc?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 558
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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napa cabbage, lemon grass, maybe fireweed...not sure what that is. napa cabbage is almost .004% zinc by mass.

Also, shiitake mushrooms.

Maybe that's the best bet, mushrooms. Shadesville in my back yard.



source: healthalicious.com (not quite as sketchy-sounding as "Mr. Smartyplants," right?)


#1: Cooked Napa Cabbage
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup cooked
3.75mg 4.09mg
25% DV 27% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts || More about Napa Cabbage
#2: Palm Hearts
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup canned
3.73mg 1.68mg
25% DV 11% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#3: Fireweed Sprouts
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup chopped
2.66mg 0.61mg
18% DV 4% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#4: Lemon Grass (Citronella)
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup
2.23mg 1.49mg
15% DV 10% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#5: Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup
1.99mg 1.07mg
13% DV 7% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#6: Wasabi Root
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup sliced Zinc per tablespoon
1.62mg 2.11mg 0.13mg
11% DV 14% DV 1.16% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#7: Stir-Fried Lentil Sprouts
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup raw
1.6mg 1.16mg
11% DV 8% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#8: Raw Winged Bean Tubers
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup cooked seeds
1.39mg 0.17mg
9% DV 1% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#9: Shiitake Mushrooms Cooked Without Salt
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup cooked
1.33mg 1.93mg
9% DV 13% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts
#10: Green Peas (Raw or Cooked)
Zinc per 100g serving Zinc in 1 cup cooked
1.19mg 1.9mg
8% DV 13% DV
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 558
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Hm...didn't find much on mushrooms. But thankfully dark chocolate is high in zinc. Maybe I'll find a dark chocolate tree at GMO Depot.

If I can just reduce it locally around the trees back there that might help them.

We're also high in calcium both in the back there (downslope) and in the front (where more compost with eggshells has been put over the years). It's a little like elemental Tetris.
 
Amedean Messan
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Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:
.... my soil expert friend said 2:1 zinc:copper ratio....
This whole urban permaculture thing would be a heck of a lot easier if the house were just sort of not there...


Well that changes a few things. Here I am thinking rural areas with well water. Don't know why I glanced over the soil testing part, lol! I need more sleep but good answer for the wrong question on my part.
 
Andrew Schreiber
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My opinion at this point is that the best way to deal with "toxicity" in the soil - be that from high levels of zinc, copper, lead etc, or from oil spills - is to increase soil organic matter, balance pH with humus, and focus on promoting an healthy soil food web.

The soil knows what to do with these things. Humus is a reservoir of biologically available minerals and nutrients. They are not toxic when enveloped in humus. Humus is just about the safest place heavy metals can be.
 
John Saltveit
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There's no reason why you can't do Andrew's high organic matter and a zinc accumulator if you can find the right one.
John S
PDX OR
 
Brian Jeffrey
Posts: 106
Location: Connecticut
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There is a wonderful century old experiment in Britain where a field has been systematically monitored and fertilized with various chemicals and methods. The Park Grass Experiment at Rothamsted Experimental Station.

I had originally read about this in the book "The World Without Us", which describes the decay of our structures, as well as the primordial wildernesses before humans evolved and modern ag implemented.

During the books description of the experiment it specifically mentioned the precipitation of Zinc from the atmosphere, mostly from industry and transportation pollution in the air. A lot of things seem to "love" going from a floating particulate to the charged surfaces of soil.

Not much can be done, but at least it is not lead! (The plots have a burst of lead in the soil from the gas before the unleaded movement)

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