If you would like your soil tested for toxins (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, etc.) you can send it to the Lead Safe America Foundation (or bring it by our office) and we will test it for free. If you are sending it, please include return postage if you would like it returned. If you are bringing it by – please text first to make sure we are in the office: 415-609-3182 (regular office hours are 9:30 to 3:15, M-F – with some nights and weekends too.)
Lead Safe America
6637 SE Milwaukie Ave, Suite 203
Portland, OR 97202
Here are instructions for preparing soil samples for us to test:
- Each sample should be put in a plastic zip-lock style sandwich baggie,
- A separate empty plastic bag should be sent (from the same box of bags) to be tested as a “control” so we can make sure there is no lead in the baggie as we will be testing through the baggie.
- Each sample should be labeled with information including: soil source location (examples: “back yard”, “side garden”, “front raised bed”), collection time, collection date and your last name (especially if you are mailing them.) Labels can be easily done with a piece of masking tape that you write on with marker.
- Soil samples should be taken using a teaspoon, clean the spoon off between each sample or use a different spoon for each sample.
- Take a shallow spoonful of soil if at all possible – do not scoop into the earth – but instead skim from the top 1/4 inch of soil to get your full teaspoon (a little more than a teaspoon is fine.)
- If you want to send a sample of sod/ grass patch that is intact, that can also be tested (and it is easy to test the top surface levels if the grass remains intact on the sample) – a 2 inch square is fine.
We are not an accredited lab and test results are provided for informational purposes only. If you need certified test results (for a legal case or other reason) we suggest you follow up any testing we may do with official accredited lab testing.
We use a Niton XRF from Thermo Fisher Scientific for our testing and testing is done by an individual who is trained and certified in using the instrument. We generally give test results in parts per million (ppm) readings, unless otherwise requested. We are happy to provide you with a simple letter stating we did the test for informational purposes and also stating the results we find. Our letters have been helpful (for example) for those who – with our testing – have found lead in their dishes / china or crystal and wanted to return the items to the store or manufacturer.
We test free of charge, however donations are welcome and as we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit – may be tax-deductible. A suggested donation is $5 per test reading. Donations may be made directly on this site using the PayPal “Donate” button or you can send a check with your sample – made out to Lead Safe America Foundationn.