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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

High lead content ruins Boston’s cherished compost

Findings at city site puzzle scientists

For years, the mounds of rich, carefully sifted soil piled in a hidden depot in Mattapan were like manna to the city’s growing ranks of gardeners.

But the thousands of tons of finely ground compost massed in the woods off American Legion Highway are now off-limits to Boston residents hoping to use it to grow tomatoes, squash, or any of the hundreds of thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables that come from gardens across the city.

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