Parents in part of Birmingham have been warned to stop their young children playing in the back garden because the soil is so toxic it could make them infertile.
The warning has been issued by city council chiefs to families in 74 houses built on top of a former landfill site in Hall Green.
Experts have discovered that the soil is so contaminated with substances like arsenic, lead, cadmium and nickel that it could damage the internal organs of young children as they play in the garden. In the case of girls it could leave them unable to have children later in life.
Kelly Best, aged 36, who has two young daughters, said: "We do not want to make the girls petrified about going out in the garden, but I'm really worried for their welfare.
"The council said it would affect female children more. My girls were born here. What will happen to them in the future?" Council environmental health chiefs have warned that children up to sixyearsold are at particular risk if they play in the garden and especially if they put the poisonous soil in their mouths.
The problem affects houses in Willson Croft, Priory Road, Bach Mill Drive, The Launde and Graith Close.
Residents have been sent a report and letter by the council informing them of the contamination and the toxic substances found in the soil.
The report says there is a "significant possibility of significant harm to human health" through any " ingestion of soil and indoor dust" and the consumption of vegetables grown in the gardens.
Many residents, who have seen thousands wiped off the value of their homes, have told how they have been eating homegrown vegetables for years and are angry the council has waited so long to warn them of the danger.
Gavin Tringham, the council's head of environment protection, said although girls were specifically mentioned in the report, because of the affect of arsenic on fertility, there were also health concerns for boys.
"There is a potential long-term risk to children playing in the gardens and they should stay out of them in case they eat any contaminated material," he said.
Despite the seriousness of the contamination, parents in at least 32 of the houses have been told the garden ban for children will have to be permanent unless the Government coughs up cash for a mammoth detox operation.
The council has drawn up a £1.5 million clean up scheme, but only the 41 former 1960s council homes in Willson Croft and Priory Road will get it. The 33 homes built by Bryant Homes in Bach Mill Drive, The Launde and Graith Close in the early 1980s will only get decontaminated if the Government foots the bill - something Ministers may refuse to do.
The work will involve scraping off half a metre of top soil and having it replaced with healthy soil and a protective membrane.