In 2020 we donated 10% profits of all Water Testing and Water Filter Sales to local and International Aid. During 2021 we will do the same for all Soil and Dust Tests and Air Purifiers ordered through Toxtest and Hartgoods.


32 Heavy Metals, Minerals & Auxiliary Tests


Key Points
Getting the most from the Toxtest 32 Element
Core Soil Test

Results show total levels of each of the 32 Metals, Heavy Metals, Metalloids and Minerals in your soil sample and are presented as milligrams of the element per kilogram air dried soil (mg/kg). Soil samples are analysed by our Laboratory here in Australia via Total Acid (Aqua Regia) digest using - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) | Elements tested include -
Antimony (Sb), Silver (Ag), Arsenic (As), Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Selenium (Se), Zinc (Zn), Mercury (Hg), Iron (Fe), Aluminium (Al), Lithium (Li), Beryllium (Be), Boron (B), Vanadium (V), Cobalt (Co), Strontium (Sr), Molybdenum (Mo), Barium (Ba), Thallium (TL), Bismuth (Bi), Thorium (Th), Uranium (U), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Potassium (K), Sodium (Na), Sulphur (S), Phosphorus (P)
The primary purpose of having a soil test is to safeguard human and animal health. In a world first, we present results that both prioritise human friendly visual design and the use of recent Australian data that emphasises background levels of metals and elements as they have occurred in nature since humans have walked the earth. A secondary, but equally important reason is to prioritise plant growth and health via the assessment of Soil Nutrient availability and Soil Fertility & Health, which of course leads to optimal human and animal growth & health.
The presentation of the soil analysis results also considers...
Potential soil contamination from man-made sources, especially from the heavy metals of most concern to human health (Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic and Mercury)
Heightened local natural geological background levels
How results compare to Australian Guidelines for Health Investigation Levels (HILs) for Soil Contaminants
Potential problems and dangers for insects, soil microbiome, worms and of course plants. Note that our Soil Nutrient availability & Fertility Analysis provides a more in-depth focus on optimal plant growth & health. This test investigates soluble, exchangeable or available levels of soil elements and takes into account many variable soil parametres like pH, soil type, available/exchangeable plant nutrients and much more and is offered as an add-on to this 32 Element Core Soil Analysis.
Additional exposure and health information is available in the blue links within each Metal/Mineral result.
Relevant, interesting and timely information is also provided uniquely within each Metal/Mineral result.
Results need to meaningfully gauge the extent of any potential man-made contamination or indeed, greater than average local natural background geochemical levels of an element. This then reveals any heightened human, animal and plant exposure to toxic heavy metals. To achieve this, results are presented in a way that simply and visually shows the degree to which each individual element result is higher than a Precautionary Threshold Value (PTV) in addition to an Upper Threshold Value (UTV).
These Threshold Values are based on extensive and careful assessment of current and historic research, both locally and globally. In determining the PTV and the UTV for each element tested, we carefully considered the fine line between being too relaxed and too alarmist, particularly with regard to potential exposures to the highly toxic heavy metals.
The estimation of these Australian relevant Threshold Values is possible because of data publically available from the mammoth project conducted by the National Geochemical Survey of Australia (NGSA): The Geochemical Atlas of Australia in 2011, that shows national geochemical background averages and percentiles for 59 metals and minerals at several soil depths over most of the Australian continent. Similar datasets are available separately for Europe and the USA. In 2017 the work of Clemens Reimann and Patrice de Caritat helped us clarify our Precautionary Threshold Value and Upper Threshold Values for each element we test in the soil sample.
Importantly, each element/heavy metal result has Unique Visual cues (Length and Colour of the result bar) and Text-based Information (Numeric results, Australian based PTV and UTV values, Australian Guidelines for Health Investigation Levels for Soil Contaminants, called HILs and other global background values for comparison). This multifaceted approach to result presentation helps highlight potential dangerous exposures (for humans, animals and food grown in the soil) and in making decisions whether too do nothing or to investigate further. This in turn helps to demarcate potential ongoing or historic man-made contamination from above average natural geological element levels.
Our Precautionary Threshold Value (PTV) is calculated from the Australian NGSA geochemical background averages (Medians) for each element with an adjustment (Median + 2 x Median Absolute Deviation) that is more robust against the effect of data outliers. The PTV however is a conservative and environmentally friendly (low) threshold value, that can, on occasion, produce an overly cautious response suggesting that further investigation or even soil decontamination is needed. To provide balance, reduce alarm and encourage further local investigations, the Upper Threshold Value (UTV) is less sensitive and enables you to see if your soil sample result is higher than 98% of all background soil samples collected in Australia as part of the NGSA for that element.
Each individual element result contains bars that dynamically change length and colour dependant on the analysis value. The longer the bar, the greater the result is above above the PTV. The bar also changes colour from beige to red when your result is greater than the UTV. This is a trigger for potential man-made contamination, particularly for the heavy metals like Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Antimony, Aluminium, Chromium, Thorium, Uranium and even Manganese, Zinc and Nickel. However, it is also important to note that natural local geological levels can vary, even within a few kilometres. Bottom line - if result bar turns red, further investigation is strongly indicated. Of benefit is simply asking neighbours and councils if natural geological levels of specific metals (high in your result) are elevated in your area or if industry, agriculture or mining has been or currently is present.
In summary, greater length of red bars indicates that further investigation is needed so as to distinguish between heightened natural local geological levels and recent/historic contamination. Either way, caution is indicated if food is to be grown in the soil, if children will be playing in the area (under 5 year olds can ingest a lot of soil during the day) or soil enters the home as dust or is carried in via shoes and animals and deposited into carpet, sometimes over years. Natural phyto-remediation and other strategies can be applied for specific heavy metal elevations in addition to other contaminants like pesticides. See Bioremediation for Environmental Sustainability and Enhanced phytoremediation of Lead (Pb) by soil applied organic and inorganic amendments: Pb phytoavailability, accumulation and metal recovery. Also see a visual presentation of Toxtest owner's remediation of his backyard after unwanted saturation with Glyphosate (Roundup) in 2017. And finally, see growth after soil remediation in same garden not long after.
Some of us prefer to have another human explain things. If that's you, then we provide a consultation over the phone/online directly with Toxtest owner, Hartmut Gunther. Cost is $35 for 15 mins or increments thereof. Contact Hartmut Günther to request a consult or ask a question.
Finally, the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (updated May 2013) provides Australian Guidelines for Health Investigation Levels for Soil Contaminants, called HILs, of Heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. We include these within the results when they are available. Of relevance here is the overview of how all the HILs are derived but more specifically how the HILs for the heavy metals are derived. A graphic summary of these values is after references. While the Government HILs take into account human health in relation to toxic exposures, they are created primarily as guidance to industry, business, councils and developers. Additionally, the HILs don't fully take into account multiple chemical exposures by an individual at one time (this is a new and emerging field of toxicological investigation), individual genetic differences, long-term accumulation in the body of heavy metals and the case where people may be eating more than 10% of produce grown in the soil.
Australian Indigenous Art on Earth's Minerals
Ubirr Region, Kakadu NP


Additional Minerals Tested
NEW (April 2021) Dust Testing Information
However some of us prefer to have another human explain things.
If that's you, then we provide a consultation over the phone directly with Toxtest owner, Hartmut Gunther.
Cost is $35 for 15 mins.
A full Nutrition Medicine work-up and consultation is also available.
Cost for this and details about Hartmut and how to best prepare for the consultation are on the Hartgood site
All 32 Metals and Minerals are tested across ALL Mediums for consistency.
We also test Medications, Vaccines, Supplements, Food and more.
DUST, Soil and Compost and Other Solids
WATER and Other Fluids
Since 2020 we are particularly focusing on the
Quality of our Drinking Water

Lithium, an emerging environmental contaminant, is mobile in the soil-plant system, A 2012

The occurrence of lithium in the environment of the Jordan Valley and its transfer into the food chain, B 2011

Establishing geochemical background variation and threshold values for 59 elements in Australian surface soil, C 2017

Geochemical and Mineralogical Maps for Soils of the Conterminous United States, D1 2014

Geochemical and Mineralogical Maps for Soils of the Conterminous United States, CAUTION - very large 178Mb PDF file yet fascinating and full of details. D2 2014

Trace element concentrations and background values in the arid soils of Hormozgan Province of southern Iran, E 2013

Geochemical Background and Baseline Values Determination and Spatial Distribution of Heavy Metal Pollution in Soils of the Andes Mountain Range (Cajamarca-Huancavelica, Peru), F 2017

Assessment of soil metal concentrations in residential and community vegetable gardens in Melbourne, Australia, G 2018

Ambient background metal concentrations for soils in England and Wales, H 2006

Background Concentrations of Trace and Major Elements in California Soils, J 1996

Background Levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Metals in Soil, K 1992

Background concentrations and reference values for heavy metals in soils of Cuba, L 2014

Ambient Levels of Metals in New Jersey Soils, M 2003

An Investigation of Inorganic Background Soil Constituents with a Focus on Arsenic Species, N 2005

National Geochemical Survey of Australia (NGSA): The Geochemical Atlas of Australia: Dataset, NGSA 2011

National Geochemical Survey of Australia (NGSA): The Geochemical Atlas of Australia, NGSA-2 2011

Analysis of Background Distributions of Metals in the Soil at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, O 2009

Australian Guidelines for Health Investigation Levels for Soil Contaminants (HILs), P 2013, page 10

Guidance for Developing Ecological Soil Screening Levels (Eco-SSLs) - Review of Background Concentrations for Metals, Q 2007

Distribution of Arsenic and Heavy Metals in Soils and Surface Waters in Central Victoria (Ballarat, Creswick and Maldon), R 2006

The science of phosphorus nutrition: forms in the soil, plant uptake, and plant response, S 2009

Assessment Levels for Soil, Sediment and Water - Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) - Western Australia - Version 4, revision 1, 2010, T 2010

Background concentrations of trace elements in soils and rocks of the Georgia, Piedmont, U 1998

Development of Oregon Background Metals Concentrations in Soil, V 2013

Geochemical and Mineralogical Data for Soils of the Conterminous United States, W 2013

A Chain Modeling Approach To Estimate the Impact of Soil Cadmium Pollution on Human Dietary Exposure, X 2008

Lead Toxicity: Health Hazards, Influence on Food Chain, and Sustainable Remediation Approaches, AA 2020

Next-generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: Insights from the Black Death, AB 2017

DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia) - Contaminated Sites Management Series – Assessment Levels for Soil, Sediment and Water. Version 4, Revision 1, AC 2010

Soil pH and exchangeable aluminium in contrasting New Zealand high and hill country soils, 2016

Effect of natural and anthropogenic acidification on aluminium distribution in forest soils of two regions in the Czech Republic, 2019


House-dust metal content and bioaccessibility: a review, DA 2009

Australian Government health-based investigation levels (HILs) for Heavy Metal soil contaminants.
soil testing toxtest

REF: Australian Guidelines for Health Investigation Levels for Soil Contaminants (HILs), 2013, page 10

Captured Light on clear
running creek on
Mt Tamborine, QLD
Photo by Hartmut Günther

Toxtest © 2015-2021

It's not rocket science.
Less toxins, better health.

All impeccable analyses by
Environment Analysis Laboratories (EAL)
at Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia

Innovative visualisation, research and education
by Hartmut Günther, founder at
Toxtest and Toxno
214 Beardy St, Armidale, NSW, Australia

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Human & Environmental Chemical Testing for the Public. Innovative Result Visualisation with emphasis on Human Health

Toxtest © 2015-2021 | It's not rocket science | Less toxins, better health.
Design, research, and coding by Toxtest founder, Hartmut Michael Günther