Contaminants are common in many environments, even in soils and dusts, and are generally safe. However, certain metals and other elements are dangerous when they accumulate, especially where we live, eat, or play.
The table below indicates the accepted levels of soil contamination from several authoritative bodies. Click on the column headers for each published source. Look below the table for descriptions of the sources and effects of each metal and metalloid in the table.
|Element (mg/kg)||Australia NEPC (2013) Residential A||Australia NEPC (2013) Residential B||Australia NEPC (2013) Recreational C||California CEPA (2005)||Canada CCME (2013)||Norway NPCA (2009)||United States EPA (2019)|
Except for barium, this table was compiled by Professor Mark Taylor and Marek Rouillon at Maquarie University. Click here for the original table.
- Residential A- with garden/accessible soil (home-grown produce <10% fruit and vegetable intake (no poultry), also includes childcare centers, preschools, and primary schools.
- Residential B - with minimal opportunities for soil access; includes dwellings with fully and permanently paved yard space such as high-rise buildings and apartments.
- Residential C - Public open space such as parks, playgrounds, playing fields (e.g. ovals), secondary schools and footpaths