Impact of Soil Heavy Metal Pollution on Food Safety in China
Assessment of human industrial and agricultural activity on soil metal pollution
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Metadata Updated: April 24, 2018

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.