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Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1505;

Spatio-Temporal Variations of Health Costs Caused by Chemical Fertilizer Utilization in China from 1990 to 2012

1,2,* , 1,3
1,3,4,* and 1
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AB, UK
The Key Laboratory of the Coastal Zone Exploitation and Protection, Ministry of Land and Resources, Nanjing 210024, China
Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use in China)
Full-Text   |   PDF [3678 KB, uploaded 24 August 2017]   |  


The health impacts caused by chemical fertilizer utilization have challenged long-term sustainable development in many countries, particularly developing countries. Based on the emergy analysis method, we estimated the temporal and spatial variations of the health costs, through atmospheric, water, and soil pathways, of chemical fertilizer utilization in China during the period from 1990 to 2012. The results showed an obvious increasing trend of health costs from 1.8 billion Yuan in 1990 to 23.0 billion Yuan in 2012, while the ratio of health costs to agriculture output value declined slowly and became stable in recent years. Regional differences were remarkable and were significantly correlated to the levels of economic development (r = 0.843 and p < 0.001) and crop-sown area in the region (r = 0.588 and p < 0.001). Economically developed regions, especially the eastern coastal provinces, had much higher costs than the western regions. Meanwhile, fertilizer consumption shifted from the eastern to the northwest region, which was the same as the health costs. This study provides a reference to estimate the health costs of fertilizer utilization, and the results highlight the importance of sustainable development in China. View Full-Text
Keywords: fertilizer; emergy analysis; disability-adjusted life years (DALY); China fertilizer; emergy analysis; disability-adjusted life years (DALY); China

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Yang, H.; Shen, X.; Lai, L.; Huang, X.; Zhou, Y. Spatio-Temporal Variations of Health Costs Caused by Chemical Fertilizer Utilization in China from 1990 to 2012. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1505.

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