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How long does runoff toxicity/contamination in plants last?

Asked by incendiary_dan (13354points) June 5th, 2011

As a lot of you know, I’m a big time forager. I’ve always read and always teach in my classes that you shouldn’t gather food or medicine plants near roadsides because runoffs from cars and exhaust add some toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by plants, especially ones like cattails that act as filters. Benzene is the biggest concern, as well as lead. Basically all foragers have seen prime spots to forage, only to say to themselves “If only it wasn’t next to that road!”

What I’m wondering is how long it would take for that toxicity to disappear, if ever, in the plants or environment in the event that the roads stopped being travelled. Is anyone familiar with related research?

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