How to check your soil for heavy metals
The Macquarie University in Sydney is providing a community orientated program called "VegeSafe" that seeks to inform people about metals and metalloids in their garden soil.
Many people are growing their own vegetables - without pesticides - so they can benefit from fresh and healthy produce.
However, local industry, air pollution, agricultural drift and water contamination can lead to accumulation of metal contaminants in soils.
Metal contaminants can remain in soils for hundreds of years and can cause harm to humans.
Macquarie University can test your soil and only asks for a small donation of $20.
You can send in up to five samples from different areas in your garden. You will receive a written report with the analysis of eight heavy metals and metalloids ( arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, nickel and zinc) as well as a list of Australian and international guidelines.
You will be surprised to learn that Australia deems an arsenic level of up to 100mg/kg soil safe, whereas the EPA in the USA, Canada and Norway set their limits at 0.61 to 12 mg/kg.
The VegeSafe program is a great and simple way to be sure your veggie garden is safe!