Community Science SoilSHOP

Let’s screen your soil for lead!

This UNICEF report, Toxic Truth, mentions that about one in three children in the world are exposed to lead. There are many ways for you to be unexpectedly exposed and soil is one of the potential pathways. We invite you to check out our Resources page to learn more and to screen the soil you and your children encounter daily!

In partnership with Georgia Department of Public Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, we are offering free soil screening to anyone in Georgia who’s interested in checking their soil lead levels. This is a virtual free soilSHOP event and you can read more about the program, as well as the limitations of the soil screening method here. We welcome you to bring samples from at most two sites of your choice before November 15, 2020. If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to reach out to atlsoilsafety@emory.edu.

If you live in this boundary in the Westside of Atlanta where the Superfund Site Investigation is ongoing, we recommend you contact Westside Lead Community Outreach (e-mail: R4_Westside_Lead@epa.gov, phone: 678-662-8603), for free soil testing and more.

Steps for soil screening

  1. Take Your Soil Samples: Watch this video to take soil samples from your backyard or anywhere you would like to screen lead levels. The trowel or shovel you use needs to be clean before you take a sample. Also, make sure you mix the soil well after you collect 6 scoops and dry them thoroughly before you put them in a Ziploc bag!

2. Please clearly write your sample ID on your Ziploc bag(s) using a Sharpie – write your first and last name initials + 5-digit Zipcode + S1 for your first sample and S2 for your second sample (remember you can only provide UP TO TWO samples per person). So for example, if your name was Jane M. Doe living in the Zip code 30322, you will write JD30322-S1 for the first sample and JD30322-S2 for the second sample. After you marked your sample ID on your sample bag(s), please put it/them in a bigger bag along with a piece of paper where you write your sample ID and your e-mail address. This way we make sure that we can match your samples with the soil information that you provide in the next step.

3. Fill out the Form: Please fill out this online form (Español, 中文, 한국어) to let us know where your samples come from and so we understand the exposure risk for you and your children. You only need to fill out one form per person but make sure you tell us about each of your samples, if you are providing two. If you prefer a paper form, feel free to print out this form (Español, 中文) and attach the form to your samples with a stapler.

4. Drop Off Your Samples: We have several drop off locations available that you can choose from:
a) You can ship them to us at Saikawa Lab, Department of Environmental Sciences, 400 Dowman Drive Math and Science Center E512, Atlanta, GA, 30322.
b) Georgia EPD drop box located at 4244 International Parkway, Suite 104, Atlanta, GA, 30354-3906 (between October 15-November 15)
c) Atlanta Botanical Garden drop box located at 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 in front of gift shop, to the left of the garden entrance (Three different weekends: Oct 17-18, Oct 31-Nov 1, Nov 14 – 15)

Atlanta Botanical Garden Drop Box Location


d) Southface Institute drop box located at 241 Pine Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 on the covered porch to the right of the main double-doors (Until November 15)
e) Historic Westside Gardens drop box located at 396 Elm Street NW, Atlanta, GA, 30314 (October 20 – November 15)
f) Chattahoochee Riverkeeper located at 916 E. Joseph Lowery Blvd. NW, Suite 3, Atlanta, GA 30318 (Contact person: Jessica Sterling, jsterling@chattahoochee.org, Office 404.352.9828; Cell 706.338.9052) (Drop off is available until November 15 but everyone is required to wear a mask while walking around the complex to get to the office.) See below for a map for a location.

Chattahoochee River Keeper Drop Off Location


g) Cobb County Water System Water Quality Laboratory located at 662 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30060 (Contact person: Mike Kahle, Michael.Kahle@cobbcounty.org, Phone: 770.528.1482) (Drop off until November 15) See below for more information.

Cobb County Water System Water Quality Laboratory Drop Off Location

h) Gwinnett County Government located at 684 Winder Hwy., Lawrenceville, GA 30045 (On-site contact person: Lobby receptionist, Phone: 678.376.6700; Secondary contact person: John Butler, John.Butler@gwinnettcounty.com, Phone: 678.376.6914) (Drop off location in the lobby at the reception desk from 8am – 5pm on weekdays until November 13)

i) Kaldi’s Coffee – The Depot at Emory located at 1 Eagle Row, Atlanta, GA, 30322. (Drop off until November 15) See below for more information.


We will do our best to send you the results back ASAP but please be patient as we are in the process of obtaining more equipment. Thank you for your patience and interest. Let’s work on making a healthy and safe environment for everyone!

soilSHOP team


Estimated response time: 30-60 days after receipt

To participate in Community Science SoilSHOP is free but we ask that you only ship or drop off TWO soil samples maximum. If you would like a more extensive soil analysis, we recommend contacting the University of Georgia Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories.