Initial Publication Date: December 14, 2020

Soil Lead Methods

2013-2016 Quantitative Methods

During all project years soils have been sampled from the top 2 inches of soil & placed in a plastic baggie (e.g. Latimer et al., 2016). The class followed suggested Niton Xlp300 EPA Soil Lead Methods for project years 2013-2016, air drying and sieving samples before analyses. The projects conducted during these years explored one or two gardens of vacant lots of interest to specific partners. Blanks and a certified soil lead standard was always measured pre and post analytical runs to ensure that the XRF was accurate. Additional samples measured by our health partners at the Clark County Combined Health District were measured using EPA methods in a lab. Those samples are shown in yellow.



2018-2020 Semi-Quantitative Community Science Methods

For projects conducted in 2018-2020 we moved to quantitive methods to expand sampling and community engagement similar to efforts like Soil Shop.  Soils were air dried and debris and gravel removed before baggies were analyzed directly. These methods reduce time and accuracy, but are useful for garden and neighborhood analyses because soil concentrations are heterogeneous and quicker analyses help more quickly reveal neighborhood challenges. Progressive project years are shown in yellow. Note that with easier analyses we expanded spatial coverage more rapidly and these project year. Projects were more intentionally designed around engaging with neighborhood audience to build health literacy and/or to engage community leaders in neighborhood or multi-site planning discussions (i.e. expanding from one or two potential garden sites to a suite of possibilities). A community science approach with deepened engagement is also better aligned with building capacity for policy change.



  1. Latimer, J. C., Van Halen, D., Speer, J., Krull, S., Weaver, P., Pettit, J., & Foxx, H. (2016). Soil lead testing at a high spatial resolution in an urban community garden: A case study in relic lead in Terre Haute, Indiana. Journal of Environmental Health, 79(3), 28-35.
  2. ThermoScientific, (retrieved 2020) Niton XLp 300 Series Analyzer User's Guide
  3. US Department of Health & Human Services, 2019, soilSHOP Soil Screening Information Guide