Heavy metals in organic vegetable production connected to KRAV in the south of Skåne : accumulation in soil, plant uptake, regulations and health effects

University essay from SLU/Dept. Of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management

Abstract: Heavy metals are substances that can contaminate our environment and damage our health. If one summarize the addition of heavy metals to the cultivated soil during the 20th century, there can be seen that the content of cadmium has increased with 30%, mercury 45%, lead 15% and other heavy metals with one or a few percent. The aim with this thesis was to investigate how heavy metals are dealt with in organic vegetable production on open field to prevent them from accumulate in the soil and taken up by the plants. Focus was laid upon KRAV, the control-association for organic production in Sweden. Questions were asked if KRAV have any regulations or praxis to keep heavy metals that enter the cultivated soils at a minimum level, and what the KRAV-certified growers are doing to prevent the accumulation of heavy metals. To reach the aim seven interviews were made with four different growers connected to KRAV, two KRAV-controllers and one person responsible for the regulations at KRAV. KRAV have good and quite strict regulations on heavy metals. But from the interviews it showed that the growers who are the ones that should implement these regulations doesn't seem to be particularly aware of heavy metals and what cultural practices they should use to prevent them from accumulate in the soil and taken up by the plants. The interviews with the KRAV-controllers also showed that they have a low prioritizing of controlling the amount of heavy metals that are applied to the cultivated soils by fertilization and that KRAV: s regulations on heavy metals are followed by the certified growers. However there were only four interviews done with KRAV-certified growers and they are all localised to Skåne so these results might not accurately reflect on all growers connected to KRAV in Sweden.

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