In this study, Pb-210(Po-210) activity concentrations in surface soils taken from cultivated lands in the Buyuk Menderes Basin in Aegean Region, Turkey were determined. The Pb-210(Po-210) activity in soil varies from 0.013 to 0.135 Bq/g with a mean value of 0.041 Bq/g. Its distribution fitted close to normal curve. The mean annual effective dose equivalent was found to be 0.91 muSv/y. The data obtained were statistically evaluated to explain the Pb-210(Po-210) distribution in the cultivated lands. The effect of organic matter, clay, silt, sand contents and pH of the soil on the relative adsorption of the (PB)-P-210(Po-210) on the surface soils was also studied. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.