Test results can help you understand more about your soil. Results showing levels of lead or other chemicals can help you find areas that need attention so that you can keep the contaminants away from people with healthy gardening practices. Other tests can tell you more about the pH of your soil, levels of nutrients or organic matter, or other properties important for growing healthy plants.
If you have tested your soil for lead or other metals, comparing results to both soil background concentrations and health-based guidance values can be helpful. For lead in particular, there is no “safe” level, but these comparisons can help you understand more about possible risks so that you can make more informed decisions to keep yourself and your family healthy.
- “Metals in Urban Garden Soils.” Information about metals commonly found in urban garden soils, including sources, behavior in garden soil, concerns about human and plant health, what gardeners can do, and related topics. 9pg (PDF), March 2015.
- “Sources and Impacts of Contaminants in Soils.” Cornell Waste Management Institute fact sheet 6pg (PDF), April 2009.
- “Understanding Your Test Results: Lead in Chicken Run Soils and Chicken Eggs.” Recommendations taken from project results shared with gardeners, 6pg (PDF), updated October 2012.
- “Understanding Your Test Results: Metals in Garden Soils and Vegetables.” Recommendations taken from project results shared with gardeners, 6pg (PDF), updated December 2012.
If you have not already visited it, our Soil Contaminants page directs you to more information as well.