You keep hearing about the importance of introducing fresh vegetables and fruits into your meals in order to maintain your health. However, since more and more organizations are pointing out the level of pollution in our environment, you might wonder at some point about the safety of growing and eating vegetables. In order for these elements to provide a good nutrition, they need to be grown in good quality soil. The soil is made of basic organic materials and certain decomposing organisms, which ensure a regular cleaning and aeration of the soil.

There are several types and levels of soil contamination. Certain accidents such as oil spills, toxic pesticides and pipe line leaks as well as natural disasters, like earthquakes, tsunamis or hurricanes, will make it impossible for anything to grow in that location for years. For example, when hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, 10 millions square miles of land were contaminated due to Katrina destroying and carrying over 1 million gallons of oil in the south east side of the city. Although the oil is cleared now, the farmers there will have to treat the soil for years to come before they can grow anything on it. Besides affecting the economic aspect in the region, there were also concerns of the oil entering the groundwater.

The main problem with soil contaminations, regardless if it is an oil spill or pesticide spray, is that it will affect the organic compounds of the earth and compromise the process and functions of the microorganisms that live there. Therefore, you can be sure that every plant or tree that grows in a contaminated soil will also be affected. Once the toxic elements enter the food chain, they will lead to various health problems and illnesses, especially cancer.

Since this a serious environmental issue that can affect an entire community, most countries are passing out laws in order to protect the land. However, these measures are usually taken too late, and often after the damage is already done. For instance, although the authorities in China, UK and USA have passed out strict regulations regarding the use of land and have high fines for people polluting the earth unwillingly or not, the truth is that the soil is still getting contaminated due to improper irrigations with polluted water.

Considering the degree of pollution in the environment nowadays, it seems that, regardless of the measures that authorities and people alike take, soil contamination is inevitable. Perhaps a patch of land has not experienced an oil spill or the farmers cultivating it do not spray pesticides on it, the noxious fumes and gases from vehicles, manufacturing companies, electric plants and fires can build up in the atmosphere to cause acid or toxin rains. The rainwater is usually contaminated with heavy metals, dioxides and other toxic ingredients that enter the soil and consequently, into the animal and human bodies. All these substances are known to affect the nervous system, liver, kidneys as well as disturb certain body processes and functions and cause cancer.

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