Does anyone have links for a lead soil testing lab? I live in Oakland California in an old house that certainly had/has lead paint. I'm concerned about possible lead levels in the backyard soil. Would like to determine if some areas are safe for garden, kids to play, etc. I'm assuming there must be some fairly inexpensive mail-in soil tests, but a quick web search didn't find anything. Mostly saw big commercial labs that didn't seem oriented towards residential services, and some info on a now-defunct programs in Alameda County.

  • You can probably buy a mail-away kit with all the containers and instructions you need. University Agriculture departments also often offer these services for a small fee.
    – Doresoom
    Jan 28, 2015 at 18:29
  • yes, that's what I'm looking for. Which university tho?
    – Skye
    Jan 29, 2015 at 6:47
  • I found this link to UMass Extension service soil test which looks like it includes a lead component .. hopefully the right kind of test? soiltest.umass.edu/ordering-information
    – Skye
    Jan 29, 2015 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


It seems that this document answers most of your questions:

Testing for Lead

In the document it states that home kits are available, but it has been shown that the effectiveness is not too reliable, and if you do detect lead, you will probably need to get soil professionally analysed.

otherwise you can find do-it yourself test kits on this link if needed. DIY Test kit

Personally, I would inspect the soil for any traces of paint chips and if you find any, then get lab tests. however a sensible course of action would be to order in some top-soil for your garden, that way, your garden will look nice in a few weeks and you will have peace of mind in terms of contaminants.

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