Month: April 2024

Hartford Residential Soil Lead Testing

Excited for gardening in your yard this spring? Or curious about the health of your yard soil? Take advantage of free residential soil lead testing for Hartford residents provided by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UConn. 

Why test soil for lead? Although lead is naturally occurring in the environment, various human activities such as the use of lead-based paint, high traffic, sewage sludge, industrial practices, and the use of urban fill materials can lead to lead contamination. Urban areas are at higher risk for exacerbated lead levels that can persist in the soil for extended periods of time and affect people through food contamination or inhalation of lead dust.

What are the dangers of lead contamination? Lead exposure is toxic to everyone. This is especially true for vulnerable populations including children who can face risks of stunted development from lead neurotoxicity, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding individuals who risk passing lead on to their babies.

How can lead exposure be reduced? Practices such as avoiding physical contact with contaminated soils, wearing gloves during gardening, and discouraging children from playing in affected areas can drastically prevent exposure to lead. Furthermore, safe gardening practices such as planting sunflowers, ragweed, duckweed, mustard greens, and ornamental cabbage that efficiently absorb metals from the soil as well as the use of raised gardening beds with clean soil when planting food can help mitigate the harm of lead contamination.

How will lead levels be tested? Once you collect samples from your yard following this guide, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UConn will use Portable X-RAY Fluorescence (pXRF) technology to quickly and reliably detect the presence of lead, no matter how low the concentration level.

For more information:
For inquiries or to opt-in for soil testing, contact Hayley Clos at

Understanding and addressing soil lead contamination is essential for safeguarding public health and promoting sustainable gardening practices. Take advantage of this opportunity to ensure your yard is safe for gardening this season!