Might of interest to some who may suspect that their property is contaminated.
VegeSafe is a Macquarie University community orientated program that seeks to inform people about metals and metalloids in their garden soils. Our program provides a free sampling program for domestic and community garden soils. Participants receive a formal report and links to information and advice about "what to do next" in the event of soils containing elevated concentrations of metals and metalloids. Our motto is "Carry on Gardening" because this is exactly what we want people to do - in the knowledge that their soils are metal free as is the produce from their gardens.
We have visited, sampled and tested soils from multiple schools, community and domestic gardens from Greater Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. We receive enquiries almost daily for soil sampling and related advice and have assisted, advised and given comment presentations to hundreds of Australians. Our work has been covered in the media - print and radio media and continues to be positively received by all of our stakeholders. We also run a public access VegeSafe site for up to date comment and questions via Facebook: VegeSafe (Facebook)
The majority of Australians live in populated urban areas, and the rise of industry in the last century has resulted in the widespread accumulation of metal contaminants in soils. Metal contaminants can remain in these soils for hundreds of years and may become highly concentrated, presenting potential exposure risks to humans that can result in adverse health effects. For example, lead is well known to have accumulated in city soils due to its former use petrol and the widespread (now discontinued) use of lead in paint.
Exposure to metals such as lead can cause permanent negative intellectual and neurological effects on children. Young children are particularly susceptible to lead exposure through increased hand to mouth activity as well as a higher absorption potential compared to adults.
The growing interest in urban gardening (Urban Gardening; Managing the Risks of Contaminated Soil) means that an increased number of people may be inadvertently exposing themselves to soil and dust metals. Understanding the risks and how to deal with them will reduce exposures significantly, which is what out program aims to help people achieve so they can Carry on Gardening.
The VegeSafe initiative began in September of 2013 at Macquarie University’s Open Day event, where we offered free soil metal testing to attendees. Since then our program has continued to run and has provided free soil metal testing to hundreds of residents in Australia. If you have a vegetable patch or are concerned of metal contamination in your backyard, we encourage you to participate. Follow these three easy steps:
Follow this LINK to participate.
It's a wonderful offer. Anyone in an older area could well be gardening in contaminated soil. Anyway even though I use mixes and my own compost who's to say that there is no contamination?
Incredible to have an offer like this free. Hoping someone will take it up and give us feedback.
Anyone living on old industrial land? Farming land?
Saw this on Gardening Australia on the weekend. I just might send off samples myself living in an older suburb such as Stafford.
If you do Stephen, can you give us some idea of the process and outcome please?
Will do. I think they mentioned something about collecting 5 samples around the yard and sending it off.