Newswise — Apr. 1, 2019 – No fooling: contaminated soil is unhealthy soil. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Apr. 1 Soils Matter blog post explains some common contaminants in soil and what we can do to protect human and soil health.

“Long-term exposure to items like petroleum products, chromated copper arsenate and radon can cause problems for humans–and other plants and animals dependent on healthy soils,” writes Aaron Daigh, assistant professor of soil physics at North Dakota State University. 

The blog covers three contaminants:

  1. Petroleum products can harm humans. Soils contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons can affect soil health. And it can affect soil health at much lower concentrations compared to the effects on human health. They can harm soil microorganisms, reducing their number and activity.”
  2. “The arsenic portion of chromated copper arsenate is water soluble. This means it can soak into the soil, and anyone playing or gardening near it can get contaminated. If any structures in your yard are made with wood and have a green tint, they could be contaminated. If not properly sealed (or removed), they can cause a hazard.”
  3. Radon is a gas….It’s a natural by-product of the radioactive decay of radium. And radium is a naturally-occurring substance, so this soil contaminant is not human-generated. But the problems with radon building up in homes and other structures are human-made. Managing this soil contaminant is more about reducing the problems caused by radon versus getting rid of it completely.”

Read the entire blog post here:

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