Hemp to the Rescue at Detox Sites
Cannabis is enjoying a renaissance of sorts, and one new application for hemp, the no-buzz industrial variety used in fabrics, oils and foods, is cleaning nuclear radiation from toxic soil and removing toxic metals like cadmium, lead, mercury and other pollutants via phytoremediation. Allison Beckett, a cultivation expert at Marijuana.com, says, “Industrial hemp has been used in areas of high radiation, such as Fukushima, [in Japan,] with promising results. Not only does hemp pull toxic, heavy metals from the soil, it actually improves soil structure, making it usable as productive farmland again. Plus, hemp is a vigorous plant that absorbs CO2 rapidly, making it an encouraging solution to climate change.” Hemp phytoremediation has been used in Italy to clean up the small town of Taranto, where a steel plant has been leaking dioxin into the air and soil. The Pennsylvania Industrial Hemp Council and Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, are running a project to test the process in an arsenic-contaminated area in Upper Saucon Township that once harbored a zinc mine.