Is My Soil Safe?
Although most people test their garden soil to be sure it is perfect for flowers and vegetables, they tend to forget to test for humans! Your soil can be harboring a host of contaminants, including PCBs, radon, asbestos and lead. Lead in the soil is dangerous and far more common than most of us imagine. Simply opening or closing a window in a pre-1978 built home (the year lead paint was banned for residential use), can send lead paint dust flying through the air, landing in gardens, walkways, and the soil.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a speck of lead dust, as small as a grain of sand, is enough to poison a child. Lead poisoning affects everyone, but most especially children, pregnant women and pets. If you live in a pre-1978 built home, or in a neighborhood that has older homes, it’s important to test your soil for PCBs, radon, asbestos and lead.
When to Test Your Soil
Soil contamination can come from a variety of sources, both above and below the ground. Contaminants including lead dust, PCBs, radon, and asbestos settle in your soil, and can be easily transferred to children, pets, and more. Test your soil:
- When moving into a new home;
- Before you plant a vegetable garden;
- If you have experienced flooding from a storm;
- If you use compost from a public source;
- If a neighbor has undergone renovation of an older home without following taking proper containment protocol.