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Distribution and budget of cadmium and lead in an agricultural region near Adelaide, South Australia

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The principal natural and anthropogenic factors important in determining the regional distributions and relationships of Cd and Pb were studied by field sampling of stream waters, soils, pasture plants and rainfall of an agricultural area thought to represent typical ‘background’ for toxic metals. Cadmium in surface soils has a distribution associated with phosphate fertilizer use, geochemistry of parent materials, and atmospheric fallout of urban origin. Lead contamination of surface soils and rainfall decreases with distance from the urban area, the principal source of contaminant Pb being automotive emissions. For both elements, soil was the main sink. Losses of Pb and Cd in stream waters and agricultural products are negligible when compared with inputs, leading to a gradual accumulation in surface soils. With current fertilizer practice, extractable-Cd concentrations in surface soils will approximately double within about 20 yr. Similar increases in soil Pb will require at least 200 yr if the diminishing use of Pb in petrol remains the only significant source.

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Merry, R.H., Tiller, K.G. Distribution and budget of cadmium and lead in an agricultural region near Adelaide, South Australia. Water Air Soil Pollut 57, 171–180 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00282880

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  • Cadmium
  • Petrol
  • Surface Soil
  • Stream Water
  • Parent Material