> Over on OregonLive.com there is a great article on testing the soil around your home for lead.
While lead is naturally occurring, at elevated levels it’s especially dangerous to children and can cause severe learning disabilities and behavior problems. Older homes that have been painted and scraped have a higher risk of contaminated soil, as do those near major thoroughfares from leaded-gasoline use back in the day.
That doesn’t mean you should stop gardening if you have lead in your backyard, though. The key is taking precautions — such as what vegetables you grow, and where and how. But more on that in a minute.
First comes the all-important soil testing. It lets you know what’s possible.
At varying distances from the house, I dug down into the dirt about a foot, mixing from all layers, before placing each sample in its own zip-top bag. Then, I dropped them off at Wy’east Environmental Sciences in Portland, which had best local price I could find, at $20 a test.