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Animal feed

Risk assessment of cadmium in mineral fertilisers - fate and effects in the food chain and the environment

Report no:

Ordered: 31.10.2017

Publishing: 30.11.2018

Key message:

The Norwegian Scientiffic Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) will conduct a risk assessment of cadmium in mineral phosphorus fertiliser and look at the fate and effects of cadmium in the food chain and the environment.

The risk assessment is needed for a re-evaluation of the current maximum value in the Norwegian fertiliser regulations.

Mineral fertilisers can contain the toxic metal cadmium. With repeated fertiliser applications over time, cadmium may accumulate in soil, resulting in negative health and environmental effects.

Levels of cadmium in Norwegian agricultural soil

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has requested VKM to give their opinion on several questions related to cadmium in mineral phosphorus fertiliser.

  • What do we know about the levels of cadmium in agricultural soils in Norway today?
  • Describe the fate (mobility) of cadmium in agricultural soil and in the local environment, after the application of cadmium-containing mineral phosphorus fertilisers to agricultural land.
  • What level of cadmium in agricultural soils would give the risk of negative effects* on the affected organisms specified in table 1?
  • How will application of mineral phosphorus fertilisers with a cadmium content of 137.4, 91.6 or 45 .8 mg Cd/kg phosphorus under different crop rotations:
    • affect the levels of cadmium in agricultural soil in Norway in 1, 10 and 100 years perspective.
    • affect the risk of negative effects* on the target organisms specified in table 1?
  • How will mineral phosphorus fertilisers with a cadmium content of 137.4, 91.6 or 45 .8 mg Cd/kg phosphorus affect the dietary exposure to cadmium for Norwegians in general and for subgroups of the population in a 1, 10 and 100 years perspective?
Table 1: Affected organisms

Affected organisms

*Negative effects

Agricultural plants for food and feed

Reduced germination/growth and crop

  • Terrestric organisms
  • Aquatic organisms

Ecotoxicology (environmental risk) 

Domestic animals for food production, eating feed and/or grass from fields where mineral fertilisers has been used

Reduced animal health

The VKMs Panel on Animal Feed is responsible for the risk assessment. The report is planned to be published during 2018.

Contact

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no

 

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