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Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 795; doi:10.3390/su8080795

Spatial Distribution of Mercury (Hg) Concentration in Agricultural Soil and Its Risk Assessment on Food Safety in China

School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, International Institute for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 2 June 2016 / Revised: 4 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 August 2016 / Published: 12 August 2016
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Soil mercury (Hg) pollution in some areas of China is a serious problem and has aroused a lot of attention on a local scale. However, there are few studies on Hg pollution on a national scale. This study collected 444 published papers during 2005–2015 on Hg concentrations in agricultural soil throughout China, under seven land uses, namely: dry land, paddy field, vegetable field, tea garden, orchard, traditional Chinese medicine field and tobacco field, to assess the spatial distribution of Hg concentration and evaluate its influence on food safety. The averaged Hg concentration (0.108 mg/kg) was higher than its background (0.065 mg/kg), but much lower than the guidelines (GB15618-1995 II) for crop production. The spatial distribution of Hg throughout China showed great variability, with some hotspots due to Hg related mining and smelting activities. According to the Environment Quality Standard for soil in China (GB15618-1995 II), 4.2% of agricultural soil should be abandoned due to Hg pollution, and 2.0% faced a high risk of Hg pollution. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hg concentrations; food safety; agricultural soil; land uses; China Hg concentrations; food safety; agricultural soil; land uses; China

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, S.; Zhong, T.; Chen, D.; Zhang, X. Spatial Distribution of Mercury (Hg) Concentration in Agricultural Soil and Its Risk Assessment on Food Safety in China. Sustainability 2016, 8, 795.

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