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The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
Working to eliminate lead poisoning globally and to protect the
environment from lead in all its uses: past, current and new uses
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  QUESTION: How do I go about getting soil in my vegetable garden checked for lead levels? 13 Dec 2004, New South Wales Australia

How do I go about getting soil in my vegetable garden checked for lead levels?

We live in Summer Hill in an old Federation house, and I am told the suburb used to have a lead factory. My partner is concerned that there might be high levels of lead in the soil which we would consume when eating the vegetables and herbs.


ANSWER: 13 Dec 2004

Dear Chris,

Indeed there was a lead foundry making lead flashings and other sheet lead products in Summer Hill for over 100 years and The LEAD Group (the community group which now runs the Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS) - incorporating the Lead Advisory service Australia) formed initially due to concerns over soil lead levels around the lead foundry. As we discovered, there are multiple sources of lead in soil, not just the foundry so you don't have to live near an ex-foundry site to be affected.

You should check out our factsheet "Is your yard lead safe?" if you haven't already done so. The best way to have soil checked for lead is to purchase a Do-it-yourself home lead assessment kit from GLASS by phoning  1800 626 086 with your credit card details, because not only do you receive the instructions on how to collect samples (and you can also send in samples of paint and dust) but you receive a report stating what the laboratory analysis results mean and what to do about them.

Good luck and welcome to Summer Hill!
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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