Future Redistribution of Cadmium to Arable Swedish Soils: A Substance Stock Analysis

Future Redistribution of Cadmium to Arable Swedish Soils: A Substance Stock Analysis
Sten Karlsson
Journal of Industrial Ecology, Volume 8, Issue 4, Pages 41-57
This article describes a stock-based methodology designed to analyze the redistribution of substance stocks to environmental compartments. The methodology is then applied to investigate the requirements and possibilities for avoiding undesired future accumulation of cadmium in Swedish arable soils. A prospective decomposition analysis of human cadmium mobilization is thus performed to estimate the potential amounts that can end up in arable soils through different flows from the cadmium stocks identified. The requirements for cadmium abatement to achieve prescribed goals for accumulation limits are determined and compared with past and current achievements and with the varying qualities of possible abatement methods.

A stock-based methodology adds some important information to traditional scenario techniques based on substance flow analysis. The most obvious is that the fact that stocks are limited actually matters for long-term accumulation of cadmium in arable land. The methodology may also contribute certain indicators, for instance, on abatement requirements, which could serve as a complement to regulation and local quality measures on specific flows at an aggregated policy level. The stock perspective also sheds new light on actions such as increased recycling.

Concerning the specific example used in the study, it is possible to achieve a future addition of cadmium in Swedish agricultural soils that is significantly lower than in the past, although the amount depends to a large degree on activities and policies outside Sweden. Considerable uncertainty exists regarding future depositions from air, especially that from distributed small-scale emissions from fuel burning and reemission of already deposited cadmium from natural media. Measures must also be taken to guarantee a continued low addition in the form of mineral phosphorus fertilizers.
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