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Accumulation of potentially toxic elements in plants and their transfer to human food chain.

Authors
  • Dudka, S
  • Miller, W P
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of environmental science and health. Part. B, Pesticides, food contaminants, and agricultural wastes
Publication Date
Jul 01, 1999
Volume
34
Issue
4
Pages
681–708
Identifiers
PMID: 10390854
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Contaminated soils can be a source for crop plants of such elements like As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn. The excessive transfer of As, Cu, Ni, and Zn to the food chain is controlled by a "soil-plant barrier"; however, for some elements, including Cd, the soil-plant barrier fails. The level of Cd ingested by average person in USA is about 12 micrograms/day, which is relatively low comparing to Risk Reference Dose (70 micrograms Cd/day) established by USEPA. Food of plant origin is a main source of Cd intake by modern society. Fish and shellfish may be a dominant dietary sources of Hg for some human populations. About half of human Pb intake is through food, of which more than half originates from plants. Dietary intake of Cd and Pb may be increased by application of sludges on cropland with already high levels of these metals. Soils amended with sludges in the USA will be permitted (by USEPA-503 regulations) to accumulate Cr, Cd, Cu, Pb, Hg, Ni, and Se, and Zn to levels from 10 to 100 times the present baseline concentrations. These levels are very permissive by international standards. Because of the limited supply of toxicity data obtained from metals applied in sewage sludge, predictions as to the new regulations will protect crop plants from metal toxicities, and food chain from contamination, are difficult to make.

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