Skip to Content


Advice on Soil contamination for gardeners


What do all the numbers mean?

Each soil report contains a table of Australian and international soil guidelines to compare your results against. Advice on soil contamination and exposure prevention tips can assist you in the event of elevated metal and metalloid contaminants. 

VegeSafe tests for Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni)Lead (Pb) and Zinc (Zn). We have selected these metal and metalloid contaminants as they commonly present the most risk to human health when elevated in very high concentrations in backyard soil. 

The table below displays the Australian and some international soil guidelines for the VegeSafe metals and metalloids of interest. The majority of VegeSafe soils will fall under the 'Residential A' category, which by definition includes: garden/accessible soil (home grown produce <10% fruit and vegetable intake, no poultry), also includes childcare centres, preschools and primary schools.

Everybody's gardens are different, and so are the soils. If your soil trace metal content is found to exceed any of the guideline values above, we can provide you with information, links to helpful documents (like below) and advice for your specific situation. You can also view our participant testimonial video, which explores some of the strategies that other participants have enacted in their homes:

You can also contact us, if you have any questions.


For more information, see: 

Advice on soil contamination and exposure prevention tips

Growing gardens in urban soil - United States Environmental Protection Agency

Video: Safe soil - Gardening Australia

Lead Safety - NSW Environment Protection Authority information

Treated timber - NSW Environment Protection Authority information