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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Mapping the Probability of Exceeding Critical Thresholds for Cadmium Concentrations in Soils in the Netherlands


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 6, p. 1875-1884
    Received: Apr 24, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): d.j.brus@alterra.wag-ur.nl
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  1. D. J. Brus *a,
  2. J. J. de Gruijtera,
  3. D. J. J. Walvoortb,
  4. F. de Vriesa,
  5. J. J. B. Bronswijkc,
  6. P. F. A. M. Römkensa and
  7. W. de Vriesa
  1. a W. de Vries, Alterra, Green World Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700 Wageningen, the Netherlands
    b Agricultural University Wageningen, Duivendaal 10, P.O. Box 37, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    c National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, the Netherlands


The probability of exceeding critical thresholds of Cd concentrations in the soil was mapped at a national scale. The critical thresholds in soil were based on food quality criteria for Cd in crops or in organs of cattle (Bos taurus), and were calculated by inverting a regression model for the Cd concentration in the crop, with the Cd concentration in soil, soil organic matter (SOM) content, clay content, and pH as predictors. The probability of exceeding the critical threshold for Cd in soil per node of a 500- × 500-m grid was approximated by Monte Carlo simulation, using the estimated cumulative distribution functions (cdf) of SOM, clay, pH, and Cd as input. The cdfs were estimated by simple indicator kriging with local prior means. For SOM, clay, and pH, detailed maps of soil type and land use were used to define subregions with assumed constant local means of the indicators (a priori distributions). The cdfs were sampled by Latin hypercube sampling. We accounted for correlation between the actual and critical Cd concentrations in soil by drawing Cd values from cdfs conditional on SOM and clay. The estimated probability for grassland is negligible, even in areas with high Cd concentrations in soil, and for maize (Zea mays L.) land the probability is almost everywhere smaller than 5%. For arable soils, however, these probabilities commonly are larger than 5% when sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) or wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is taken as a reference crop, and locally exceed 50%.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1875–1884.