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      Impact of Soil Heavy Metal Pollution on Food Safety in China

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      PLoS ONE
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          Abstract

          Food safety is a major concern for the Chinese public. This study collected 465 published papers on heavy metal pollution rates (the ratio of the samples exceeding the Grade II limits for Chinese soils, the Soil Environmental Quality Standard-1995) in farmland soil throughout China. The results showed that Cd had the highest pollution rate of 7.75%, followed by Hg, Cu, Ni and Zn, Pb and Cr had the lowest pollution rates at lower than 1%. The total pollution rate in Chinese farmland soil was 10.18%, mainly from Cd, Hg, Cu, and Ni. The human activities of mining and smelting, industry, irrigation by sewage, urban development, and fertilizer application released certain amounts of heavy metals into soil, which resulted in the farmland soil being polluted. Considering the spatial variations of grain production, about 13.86% of grain production was affected due to the heavy metal pollution in farmland soil. These results many provide valuable information for agricultural soil management and protection in China.

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          Most cited references16

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          Effect of fertilizer application on soil heavy metal concentration.

          A large amount of chemicals is annually applied at the agricultural soils as fertilizers and pesticides. Such applications may result in the increase of heavy metals particularly Cd, Pb, and As. The objective of this study was to investigate the variability of chemical applications on Cd, Pb, and As concentrations of wheat-cultivated soils. Consequently, a study area was designed and was divided into four subareas (A, B, C, and D). The soil sampling was carried out in 40 points of cultivated durum wheat during the 2006-2007 periods. The samples were taken to the laboratory to measure their heavy metal concentration, soil texture, pH, electrical conductivity, cationic exchange capacity, organic matter, and carbonate contents. The result indicated that Cd, Pb, and As concentrations were increased in the cultivated soils due to fertilizer application. Although the statistical analysis indicates that these heavy metals increased significantly (P value<0.05), the lead and arsenic concentrations were increased dramatically compared to Cd concentration. This can be related to overapplication of fertilizers as well as the pesticides that are used to replant plant pests, herbs, and rats.
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            Inputs of trace elements in agricultural soils via phosphate fertilizers in European countries.

            Mineral fertilizers are sources of diffuse metal enrichment of agricultural soils. A survey of phosphate fertilizers (blends or raw) sold on the European market was undertaken to quantify metal input via fertilizers in European agricultural soils. A total of 196 phosphate fertilizer samples from 12 European countries were analyzed for trace metals. Analytical quality was controlled with a certified rock phosphate sample. The average metal concentrations (mg kg(-1)) in the fertilizers were 14.8 (Ni), 7.4 (Cd), 166 (Zn), 2.9 (Pb), 7.6 (As), and 89.5 (Cr). The trace metal concentrations were positively correlated with the P concentrations confirming that the rock phosphate was the major source of these elements. Lowest metal concentrations were generally found in samples from Scandinavian countries. At average P use, the trace metal input via fertilizers was similar to or even larger than the metal input via atmospheric deposition in European agricultural soils for Cd, As, and Cr, whereas the reverse was true for Zn, Ni, and Pb. The input of Cd in European agricultural soils has decreased from previously estimated values and the soil Cd mass balance was close to steady state on an average basis.
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              High percentage inorganic arsenic content of mining impacted and nonimpacted Chinese rice.

              Two approaches were undertaken to characterize the arsenic (As) content of Chinese rice. First, a national market basket survey (n = 240) was conducted in provincial capitals, sourcing grain from China's premier rice production areas. Second, to reflect rural diets, paddy rice (n = 195) directly from farmers fields were collected from three regions in Hunan, a key rice producing province located in southern China. Two of the sites were within mining and smeltery districts, and the third was devoid of large-scale metal processing industries. Arsenic levels were determined in all the samples while a subset (n = 33) were characterized for As species, using a new simple and rapid extraction method suitable for use with Hamilton PRP-X100 anion exchange columns and HPLC-ICP-MS. The vast majority (85%) of the market rice grains possessed total As levels < 150 ng g(-1). The rice collected from mine-impacted regions, however, were found to be highly enriched in As, reaching concentrations of up to 624 ng g(-1). Inorganic As (As(i)) was the predominant species detected in all of the speciated grain, with As(i) levels in some samples exceeding 300 ng g(-1). The As(i) concentration in polished and unpolished Chinese rice was successfully predicted from total As levels. The mean baseline concentrations for As(i) in Chinese market rice based on this survey were estimated to be 96 ng g(-1) while levels in mine-impacted areas were higher with ca. 50% of the rice in one region predicted to fail the national standard.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                7 August 2015
                2015
                : 10
                : 8
                : e0135182
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, International Institute for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023, China
                [2 ]School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023, China
                [3 ]Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing, 210023, China
                [4 ]State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China
                China National Rice Research Institute, CHINA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: XZ TZ. Performed the experiments: TZ LL XO. Analyzed the data: XZ LL XO. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: XZ LL. Wrote the paper: XZ.

                Article
                PONE-D-15-19432
                10.1371/journal.pone.0135182
                4529268
                26252956
                4217bc36-dfea-4756-8354-a80264bec606
                Copyright @ 2015

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

                History
                : 5 May 2015
                : 17 July 2015
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 5, Pages: 14
                Funding
                This study is supported by the Open Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing (OFSLRSS201312), State Scholarship Fund of China (No. 201208320130), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41271190 and 41301505), and a Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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                All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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