Australasian soil contamination gets attention - Environmental Science

Australasian soil contamination gets attention. Jerald L. Schnoor. Environ. Sci. Technol. , 2004, 38 (3), pp 53A–53A. DOI: 10.1021/es040368m. Public...
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New Zealand, and South Korea. The scientists shared research on the fate and effects of contaminants in the environment, risk assessment, and remediation options. SCRAP’s efforts have begun to pay off. “Research funding is growing rapidly [in China], and the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Natural Science Foundation, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have announced that research on fate processes of contaminants in soils are government priorities,” announced Yongguan Zhu of the Research Center for EcoEnvironmental Sciences in Beijing and the conference chair. Researchers also credited previous SCRAP meetings in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India with revising national research agendas and prioritizing soil contamination problems in those countries. In particular, conferees expressed concern about the continuing contamination of agricultural soil and food crops. For example, cadmium uptake by crops is a problem in the rich, black soils of northeast China, where rice can contain as much as 3 parts per million (ppm) of the heavy metal, exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommendations of less than 0.2 ppm, according to Tingqiang Li of Zhejiang University. “There is an urgent need for costeffective solutions,” Naidu stated. —JERALD SCHNOOR PHOTODISC

Organic chemicals contaminate an estimated 5 million hectares (12 million acres) of China’s land, and 2 million hectares (4.8 million acres) are polluted by toxic metals, Yongming Luo, a professor at the Institute of Soil Science with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing, told conferees in November at the Third International Conference on Contaminants in the Soil Environment in the Australasia-Pacific Region. All told, the 3 billion people who live in the Australasia-Pacific region must contend with an estimated 3 million contaminated sites, said experts. The conference, which was held in Beijing, was organized by Soil Contaminants in the Region of the Australasia and Pacific (SCRAP), which for seven years has sought “to raise the profile of environmental soil research in the region, assist developing countries with research, and to train scientists and engineers to solve soil contamination problems,” according to Ravi Naidu, a professor at the University of South Australia and founder of the organization. For the meeting, SCRAP, which is a program of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies and the Asian Network for Environmental Chemistry, brought together experts from developing countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Fiji, and Taiwan, and developed countries, such as Australia, Japan,

Study shows sludge treatments ineffective Treated biosolids contain a wide variety of organic contaminants at low concentrations, such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, industrial chemicals, and pesticides, according to preliminary results from the U.S. Geological Survey. This study, one of the first to look at a host of organic contaminants in sludge, examined treated biosolids and biosolid-derived products from multiple sources. More than 35 contaminants at concentrations of about 1–100 nanograms per gram were found, and phthalate concentrations were among the highest. If these results are indicative of biosolids across the country, then sludges constitute a ubiquitous, diffuse source of organic contaminants to soil and to water through runoff.

The rich black soils of Northeast China can contain high levels of cadmium. FEBRUARY 1, 2004 / ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY ■ 53A


Australasian soil contamination gets attention