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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 2, p. 689-695
    Received: Aug 21, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): chenweip@yahoo.com.cn
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Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead in California Cropland Soils: Role of Phosphate and Micronutrient Fertilizers

  1. Weiping Chen *a,
  2. Natalie Kragea,
  3. Laosheng Wua,
  4. Genxing Panb,
  5. Maryam Khosrivafardc and
  6. Andrew C. Changa
  1. a Dep. of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California Riverside, CA
    b Inst. of Resource, Ecosystem and Environment, Nanjing Agricultural Univ., China
    c California Dep. of Agriculture, Sacramento, CA


Phosphate and micronutrient fertilizers contain potentially harmful trace elements, such as arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb). We investigated if application of these fertilizer increases the As, Cd, and Pb concentrations of the receiving soils. More than 1000 soil samples were collected in seven major vegetable production regions across California. Benchmark soils (no or low fertilizer input) sampled in 1967 and re-sampled in 2001 served as a baseline. Soils were analyzed for total concentrations of As, Cd, Pb, P, and Zn. The P and Zn concentrations of the soils were indicators of P fertilizer and micronutrient inputs, respectively. Results showed that the concentrations of these elements in the vegetable production fields in some production areas of California had been shifted upward. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis showed that the seven production areas could be sorted into three categories: (i) enrichment of As, Cd, and Pb, which was associated with the enrichment of P and Zn in one of the seven areas surveyed; (ii) enrichment of As, which was associated with enrichment of Zn in two of the seven areas surveyed; and (iii) no remarkable correlation between enrichment of As, Cd, and Pb and enrichment of P and Zn in the other four areas surveyed.

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