Sewage sludge as a source of cadmium in soil-plant-animal systems

Environmental Health Perspectives
D E BakerR M Leach

Abstract

The objective of this presentation is to relate the abundance and mobility of Cd in components of terrestrial ecosystems with implications for land utilization of sewage sludge. The uptake of Cd by crop plants is a function of the quantity of the element in the soil plus other soil factors affecting the Cd ion activity or electrochemical potential at the plant root surface. The natural abundance of Cd in soils has been reported as 0.5 mug/g which is higher than the background level of 0.2 mug/g found in soils studied in Pennsylvania. Experimental results indicate that the plant availability of Cd increases with each soil addition. While the plant availability of Cd is decreased by liming to increase soil pH, it has not been possible to add Cd salts or sewage sludge Cd without significantly increasing plant uptake. Field studies have shown that land application of sewage sludge can be expected to increase the Cd concentration of corn leaves from a range of 0.05-0.1 mug/g to 1-3 mug/g. Two years after the last application of sludge which added up to 10 ppm Cd to the surface soil, corn grain, sorghum grain, wheat grain, and potatoes showed a 10- to 15-fold increase in Cd over background levels. Studies were conducted with chicks, ...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Metazoa
Cadmium
Ondatra
Bionomics
Fertilizers
Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
Waste Disposal, Solid
Soil Pollutants
Drug or Chemical Tissue Distribution

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