Newswise — October 23, 2020 – Contaminated soils – with heavy metals or petrochemicals – harm human health. And, children are 2-3 times more susceptible to the effects of contamination than adults. Translating Soil Chemistry Science to Improve Human Health” is a symposium to be held at the Translating Visionary Science to Practice ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting. The virtual meeting will be hosted Nov. 9-13, 2020 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. Media are invited; preregistration is required.

The presentations are:

  1. “Soil Health and Justice,” presented by Monica D. Ramirez-Andreotta, University of Arizona. Environmental exposures to contaminants like arsenic, cadmium, and lead play a substantial role in the disproportionate burden of disease experienced by certain communities. Ramirez-Andreotta will discuss Gardenrootsa citizen science program that began in 2010 and has been implemented in nine communities. Children are sensitive and have an air and caloric intake that is 2 to 3 times greater than adults of these contaminants. They also undergo more rapid and complex body system development, which make them more susceptible to adverse health effects of environmental toxicants. Co-generated environmental monitoring and exposure assessment data will be presented highlighting the need for comprehensive, site-specific exposure assessments for ingestion (from locally grown food, soil, water, dust) and inhalation. Efforts to improve the risk assessment process, such as gastric and lung fluid assays to evaluate bioaccessibility and how socioeconomic/cultural factors influence consumption patterns will be discussed.
  2. “Understanding Soil Chemistry to Limit Contaminants in Food,” presented by Angelia L. Seyfferth, University of Delaware. Soil chemistry has a major impact on contaminant mobility in soils and sediments. When present in saturated soils, arsenic can be more mobile into plants, especially when additional organic matter is added. This is the case in flooded rice paddies, where arsenic can be taken up by rice roots and stored in the grain. There it can impact human health. In addition to rice, arsenic levels are also high in edible mushrooms. Seyfferth will explore the behavior of contaminants in soils and sediments using rice and mushrooms as examples and discuss how sustainable soil amendments impact the uptake and localization of contaminants in foods.
  3. “Translation of Soil Chemistry Science to Reduce Contaminant Exposure and Protect Public Health,” presented by Nicholas T. Basta, Ohio State University. Soil chemistry research efforts have led to application of novel methods to assess contaminant bioavailability and development of soil chemical treatments to reduce contaminant exposure. In situ bioavailability-based remediation, based on soil chemical reactions that reduce bioavailability, is now a preferred remedial strategy for contaminated soil. This presentation will focus on key soil and environmental chemistry considerations, ranging from basic soil chemical reactions to assessment methodology, required for in situ remediation. The continued translation of soil chemistry in development of gentle remediation and green infrastructure remediation and science-based bioavailability concepts in human and ecological risk frameworks will be presented.
  4. Improving Human Nutrition Through Manipulating Nutrient Reaction Pathways in Soils,” presented by Ganga Hettiarachchi, Kansas State University. The lack of food production and nutrition value of food both continue to influence human health adversely. Research has shown that the correct selection of fertilizers and appropriate crop plant management practices targeting the manipulation of soil chemical reactions pave the way to achieve successful agronomic biofortification. Other tactics include identifying soil constraints limiting plant growth and recognizing soil reactions restricting the availability of soil-applied nutrients. Developing sound science-based solutions to lessen limitations helps produce more affordable and nutritious food while reducing the over-application of fertilizers negatively impacting environmental quality.

Presentations may be watched asynchronously, and there will be a scheduled Q&A time to speak with presenters during the meeting. Presentations will be available for online viewing for 90 days after the meeting for all registrants. For more information about the Translating Visionary Science to Practice 2020 meetingvisit

Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Nov. 2, 2020 is required. Visit for registration information.