After digging a dry well and taking soil samples for testing, I have a bunch of excess soil from my garden, just sitting in a bucket in my garage. It occurred to me to use it to make some hikaru dorodango. However, because I took soil samples for testing, I know that there's a bunch of lead and other contaminants in there. Obviously it's no good for growing food; is it safe to use for this purpose instead? (In other words, can I safely handle it?)

  • This source says you should wear gloves when handling lead-contaminated soil. Is it possible to make hikaru dorodangu with gloves on? It looks like a very tactile process that gloves would get in the way of.
    – csk
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 2:46
  • How much lead and other contaminants? Some plants collect a lot more lead than others. If you're growing rice, I'd be very worried. If you're growing fruiting plants (besides grains) like tomatoes and watermelon, they'd probably be less likely to have much lead in them (but if there's a lot of lead, I might still be worried). Of course, other contaminants besides heavy metals might be different. I believe most soil has at least a little lead, and other heavy metals in it; but there is such a thing as dangerous levels. Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


I would say yes---carefully.

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT AN EXPERT IN MATERIALS SAFETY. I do some work that involves lead bricks, but you should look for other confirmation besides mine.

The main precautions I would take would be taking care to avoid generating a lot of dust (you don't want to breathe lead dust) and wash your hands after working with the soil. As long as you do those things I would say you should be pretty safe.


But those are the precautions that I would take before dealing with the soil.

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