Gardening on Lead- and Arsenic-Contaminated Soils
Although lead and arsenic occur naturally in soil and water, human activities and use have concentrated these elements near smelters, highways, pre-1947 orchards, fossil-fuel-fired power plants, treated lumber, and buildings once coated with lead-based paint. As land use changes, housing units are spreading onto former industrial or agricultural acreage. Homeowners and renters are raising questions about the safety of soil in their garden plots. This bulletin explains 1) why some soils contain elevated amounts of lead and arsenic, 2) how to test your soil for these chemical elements, and 3) how to minimize risk of exposure when gardening. 13 pages.