Cheapest Lead Testing in Portland

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Oregonian ran an article by Carrie Sturrock titled The dirt on testing soil for lead this past week that's worth checking out (thanks, Marnie, for letting me know about it!). Turns out Wyeast Laboratories is the cheapest in the area at $20.00 a zip-lock. You can take your own samples from various places in your yard, then drop them off for testing. Results showing lead levels in your soil doesn't mean you can't grow your own vegetables, but the where, what, and hows might change. Here's a segment from the Sturrock's article, which describes how one should grow fruits and vegetables depending on different lead level ranges:
Soil with lead at 50 parts per million (ppm) to 400 ppm has elevated levels from human activities, according to Dan Sullivan, an associate professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University.

At those levels, you can grow any vegetable but should limit children's exposure to the dust. Just wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.

If the lead levels are between 400 ppm and 1,200 ppm, do not grow leafy vegetables or root crops, because they're much harder to wash. And if the levels exceed 1,200 ppm, then do your gardening in raised beds with clean soil.

Lead in garden soil doesn't have to be a showstopper, but in order to safely grow backyard edibles, it's essential to know where and how to safely do so based on the lead levels in your soil.


Up next? My father-in-law picked me up a new clothesline (still in its box!) at a garage sale last weekend, and I plan to get it up this weekend (with his help, hopefully). It'll require using a post-hole digger and mixing concrete (yikes!). I don't know how much laundry I'll get a chance to hang this summer with school starting up next week, but even if I can hang dry a few loads, it's better than none at all. Check back for a blog post on the clothesline sometime next week!


Betsy said...


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