An inventory of heavy metals inputs to agricultural soils in England and Wales

Sci Total Environ. 2003 Jul 20;311(1-3):205-19. doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(03)00139-6.


An inventory of heavy metal inputs (Zn, Cu, Ni, Pb, Cd, Cr, As and Hg) to agricultural soils in England and Wales in 2000 is presented, accounting for major sources including atmospheric deposition, sewage sludge, livestock manures, inorganic fertilisers and lime, agrochemicals, irrigation water, industrial by-product 'wastes' and composts. Across the whole agricultural land area, atmospheric deposition was the main source of most metals, ranging from 25 to 85% of total inputs. Livestock manures and sewage sludge were also important sources, responsible for an estimated 37-40 and 8-17% of total Zn and Cu inputs, respectively. However, at the individual field scale sewage sludge, livestock manures and industrial wastes could be the major source of many metals where these materials are applied. This work will assist in developing strategies for reducing heavy metal inputs to agricultural land and effectively targeting policies to protect soils from long-term heavy metal accumulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • England
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Fertilizers
  • Industrial Waste
  • Manure
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Reference Values
  • Refuse Disposal
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Wales
  • Water Supply


  • Fertilizers
  • Industrial Waste
  • Manure
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil Pollutants