VegeSafe & SoilSafe
VegeSafe is a community science participation program run by Environmental Science staff at Macquarie University. We are the only service of this kind in Australia.
In 2021, we published the data we had collected from > 3,600 homes. The study is available here. The method used to estimate vegetable trace metal uptake risk is here. Both of these studies are open access and anyone can download them and review them.
We seek to inform the community about metal and metalloid contaminants in their garden soil through our soil metal testing program. Participants receive a formal report with their soil results and are provided with links to information and advice about "what to do next" in the event of soils containing elevated concentrations of metals and metalloids.
We accept soil from all Australian states and territories.
We do not accept soils from overseas due to Australian quarantine regulations.
Our motto is "Carry On Gardening" because this is exactly what we want people to do - in the knowledge that their soils are metal free as is the produce from their gardens.
Since 2013, VegeSafe has been operating as a service to all Australians. In order to keep the program running and accessible to all, we ask for a small donation. This donation covers the time involved and the cost of soil analysis and laboratory consumables. We ask if you could please consider providing a donation to support the work of the program, starting from $20.
In 2021, researchers at the University of Auckland and GNS, New Zealand launched their sister program: SoilSafe Aotearoa. New Zealand citizen scientists are invited to submit their soil for testing here.
The urbanisation of global populations has resulted in people spending more of their time indoors. Some estimates indicate that individuals are spending up to 90% of their time indoors. Consequently, health exposure risks to environmental contaminants are dominated by indoor air particulates (dust).
Information on the composition and risks associated with house dust is largely absent. Further, there is limited information available to households on how to manage and reduce any identified risks. The 360 Dust Analysis program will help address this knowledge gap by engaging with citizens who submit their vacuum dust samples for analysis of contaminants of concern. The initial program will analyse household dusts for trace elements. As the program progresses and more samples are submitted, the analysis for contaminants of concern will broaden. All currently Australian and global data are available online at Map My Environment.
Participants will be able to assess, interpret and understand their results using interactive web tools. Remedial actions and advice on what to do next will be linked to participant results.
In order to keep the DustSafe program running and accessible to all, we ask for a small donation. This donation covers the time involved and the cost preparing vacuum dust samples for analysis and laboratory consumables. We ask if you could please consider providing a donation to support the work of the program, starting from $20 per house dust sample.
Through global citizen science collaborations, 360 Dust Analysis informs the community about the potentially harmful metals and other contaminants in and around their home.
The program seeks to help the community better understand the home living environment through an engaging and hands on approach to science in the home. Through this program, participants are exposed to real world scientific questions and contribute to ground breaking research while taking away useful information about their home.
Participants will receive accessible informative data and helpful suggestions for ways to mitigate any health risk associated with contaminants in the home.
View our global soil and dust data
We want all of the citizen scientists involved in DustSafe to be able to see what we are working on, as we work on it. MapMyEnvironment is one of the ways we do this.
Every sample that we have analysed is on this map. Zoom to your suburb to browse results near you, click on the spotlight to explore in more detail, or swivel to somewhere new, like Indianapolis or Ghana.
Go to www.MapMyEnvironment.com to explore!
Our team consists of a number of researchers distributed around the globe
Professor of Environmental Science at Macquarie University. As of 26 July 2021 he will start a new appointment as Victoria's Chief Environmental Scientist at Victoria Environment Protection Authority. His research program investigates environmental pollution and risks to human health from aerosols, dusts, sediments, soil and water.
Professor of Applied Geochemistry and Health at Northumbria University. Her research investigates environment and health interactions and she is particularly interested in the bioavailability of potentially harmful elements in the environment.
Professor of Earth Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is a Biogeochemist with several decades of experience in determining contaminant transport and human exposure and is also an Associate Editor for Applied Geochemistry and the Editor-in-Chief for GeoHealth.
The 360 Dust Analysis program is a global research initiative to collect and analyse data on contaminants of concern that may be harmful to human health in homes and gardens.
Macquarie University, NSW, Australia.
Northumbria University, Newcastle, United Kingdom.
IUPUI, Indianapolis, United States.
Environmental Protection Authority, VIC, Australia.