Environmental monitoring in Sweden shows that in parts of the population cadmium urine concentrations are at or above the levels that can be related to skeletal or renal effects. The Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) finds it necessary to substantially reduce the input of cadmium to arable land and to lower the national limit value for cadmium in mineral fertilisers.
This is stated in the commission report submitted to the Swedish Government on 31 January 2011: Cadmium should be reduced - for the sake of public health. A risk assessment of cadmium with focus on mineral fertilisers. (Kadmium måste minska - för folkhälsans skull. En riskbedömning av kadmium med mineralgödsel i fokus.)
In the report, KemI is also proposing that cadmium concentrations in mineral fertilisers should be reported to KemI´s products register, which would keep records of the amount of cadmium input in fertilisers. This was previously possible to manage through the tax levied on cadmium in mineral fertilisers.
An issue for Sweden and the EU
Emissions to air and fertilisers are main sources of cadmium in arable land. The concentration of cadmium in Swedish mineral fertilisers is currently comparatively low but the situation may change rapidly. The national limit value at present allowed in mineral fertilisers is almost ten times as high as what is considered necessary to achieve a reduction of cadmium in all soils.
Since cadmium is also present in imported food and transported to Sweden by air emissions from other countries, this issue needs to be seen in a wider perspective dealt with at European level, adopting strict limit values for fertilisers and reduce emissions.
Action plan for a toxin-free everyday environment
Reducing the cadmium level in food is also one of the conditions to be met for a toxin-free environment in the Swedish Goverments action plan. Therefore, the cadmium issue will be brought to the fore in the action plan that is now being prepared.