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Environ Int. 2015 Apr;77:5-15. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.12.010. Epub 2015 Jan 17.

Impacts of soil and water pollution on food safety and health risks in China.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China. Electronic address: yllu@rcees.ac.cn.
2
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China.
4
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK; Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK.
5
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK.
6
The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, Scotland, UK.

Abstract

Environmental pollution and food safety are two of the most important issues of our time. Soil and water pollution, in particular, have historically impacted on food safety which represents an important threat to human health. Nowhere has that situation been more complex and challenging than in China, where a combination of pollution and an increasing food safety risk have affected a large part of the population. Water scarcity, pesticide over-application, and chemical pollutants are considered to be the most important factors impacting on food safety in China. Inadequate quantity and quality of surface water resources in China have led to the long-term use of waste-water irrigation to fulfill the water requirements for agricultural production. In some regions this has caused serious agricultural land and food pollution, especially for heavy metals. It is important, therefore, that issues threatening food safety such as combined pesticide residues and heavy metal pollution are addressed to reduce risks to human health. The increasing negative effects on food safety from water and soil pollution have put more people at risk of carcinogenic diseases, potentially contributing to 'cancer villages' which appear to correlate strongly with the main food producing areas. Currently in China, food safety policies are not integrated with soil and water pollution management policies. Here, a comprehensive map of both soil and water pollution threats to food safety in China is presented and integrated policies addressing soil and water pollution for achieving food safety are suggested to provide a holistic approach.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer villages; Fertilizer application; Food safety; Heavy metal pollution; Pesticide residues; Water availability

PMID:
25603422
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2014.12.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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