Soil Toxins FROM CHEMICALS
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, the world’s chemical production has increased 400% since the 1930’s. While chemical processes have many benefits, they’ve also led to increased soil toxicity. Toxicity is not limited to industrial processes. It can be caused by high vehicle traffic, petroleum spills, lead paint, natural or man-made fires, or landfill byproducts. Each one of these poses a risk to a soil’s ability to stay viable and healthy. Not only that, soil toxins can release back into the air through evaporation, seep into waters held in the soil or nearby waterways, or bind tightly to the soil to make removal or remediation extremely difficult.
CHEMICAL SOIL TOXINS
When concentrations of toxic metals exceed guidance levels, or in the presence of even low-levels of synthetic chemicals such as DDT or dioxin, microorganisms vital to soil health may die off. Additionally, toxins in the soil can contaminate groundwater and surface water. Removing contaminants is costly and time consuming. In Europe alone, the cost of treating toxic soils surpasses $6 billion dollars each year. The problem of soil toxicity is a problem for the developed and developing countries. According to estimates from Chinese scientists, between 8% and 20% of China’s arable land or some 25 to 60 million acres may now be contaminated with heavy metals. In Europe, the number of polluted sites is expected to increase 50% by 2025. A plan for action is necessary to address the proliferation and management of contaminants.
At The Earth Restoration Foundation, we want to apply our research and science to reduce or eliminate certain toxins from damaged soils. As a result, we believe we can help these areas slow or reverse these negative trends and help degraded soils become viable again.
According to the USDA, metals and other contaminants reach soil as the result of mining, manufacturing and the use and disposal of synthetic products, such as pesticides, paints, batteries, and industrial waste. These deleterious materials often occur due to the lack of suitable waste disposal or accidental spills, such as rupture of underground storage tanks. Problematic metals include mercury, cadmium, lead, nickel, copper, zinc, chromium and manganese. In addition, arsenic, molybdenum, selenium, and boron are also considered contaminants. These metals may present naturally in the soil at low to moderate concentrations.