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Standard Contamination Test

Standard Contamination Test

A dive into levels of potentially harmful elements that could be lurking in your soil including heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic; hydrocarbons and asbestos. The full list is:

  • Arsenic (As)
  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Chromium (Cr)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Mercury (Hg, total)
  • Nickel (Ni)
  • Selenium (Se)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)
  • Other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH - C10-C40)
  • Monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (MAHs or BTEX)
  • Phenols
  • Asbestos
  • Cyanide


Heavy metals, including the big three of lead, mercury and arsenic, can be toxic to humans as well as animals through the food chain and soil dust inhalation or ingestion. Their presence in soils can be the result of nearby industrial activity, mining, farming and improper waste disposal in the form of undocumented tips. Their effects on human health span from insomnia, memory loss and anaemia to stroke and a number of cancers. And, in some cases, death.


PAHs are persistent organic pollutant compounds that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, petrol, gas, wood, rubbish and other organic compounds. They are released into the air and eventually deposited on soil naturally through volcanic eruptions and forest fires and from man-made sources such as vehicle emissions and other burning of fossil fuels. Many are likely to cause skin cancer after dermal contact, lung cancer when they are breathed in and stomach cancer when they are ingested.


Meanwhile, other hydrocarbons - broadly defined as environmentally persistent organic chemical compounds made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms - are the basis of crude oil, natural gas and coal. Most emissions are the product of the burning of these. Many are known carcinogens and have been deposited on our soils as a result of industrial activity and traffic.


Asbestos is plain deadly, causing cancer and other deadly diseases. Regularly used to strengthen and fireproof materials, asbestos was also often sprayed on ceilings and walls to better insulate them through much of the 20th century.


And that’s just the start…


This package is often paired with the State of Your Soil or Advanced Gardening Suite packages that provide analysis of soil pH, texture and organic matter as well as measures of major plant nutrients, including potassium, phosphorus and magnesium to help make your growing space as fertile as it can be in addition to being safe. The basic State of Your Soil package costs £125. More on this can be found by clicking here. The Advanced Gardening Suite costs £200 - more details here.


    We will send you a testing kit that includes a soil sample bag and small amber jar (this needs to be filled right to the top because some of the elements we are testing for can interact with air) as well as instructions on how to take samples from your garden or allotment. When you're done, place the two-thirds full sample bag and full jar back in the box that will have a pre-paid postage label already affixed, seal it and pop the package into a Royal Mail post box or drop it off at a local post office.

    Click here to find your nearest post box location

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