Full fertilizer contaminated with uranium and cadmium

NDR: Commercial fertilizer contaminated with uranium and cadmium

According to samples from the NDR magazine “Markt”, all varieties of complete fertilizer were still contaminated with the toxic heavy metals uranium and cadmium. During tests, a laboratory commissioned by the television program examined a total of five fully fertilized products. All agents were mixed with uranium and the harmful cadmium. So far there has been a real loophole in the law because there are no limits set by the legislator. Both heavy metals are considered to be extremely harmful to human health.

According to reports by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), toxic heavy metals such as uranium or cadmium are still contained in commercially available fertilizers. This was determined by a sample-based investigation of the consumer magazine "Markt". The highly toxic metals were detected in different concentrations in all five samples of complete fertilizer. The television magazine plans to report more closely on the individual relationships next Monday. It is not possible for the consumer to determine whether the fertilizers are free of such heavy metals. According to the official fertilizer law, the manufacturers do not have to provide any information about the named ingredients.

Uranium usually gets into the fertilizer via so-called phosphates, since these primarily bind to heavy metals. For years, environmentalists and consumer initiatives have been denouncing metal pollution in whole fertilizers. Nevertheless, in 2005 the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment came to the conclusion that, based on the scientific knowledge available at the time, no "significant health risks for humans from uranium in food and feed could be identified". Nonetheless, environmentalists warn of a possible health risk and therefore urge a precautionary legal minimization of metals. New research on this problem is not currently funded.

Uranium and cadmium in the fertilizer endanger the health of future generations
The President of the international center for fertilizers, Prof. Ewald Schnug, told the NDR: "There are no limit values ​​and no requirements or regulations". The black and yellow federal government rejects the creation of a limit value because the current scientific knowledge is inadequate. It is incomprehensible to Schnug why the Federal Ministry of Agriculture does not intervene immediately. The metal pollution is above all a big risk for the coming generations, says the professor. Because once uranium is in the ground, it also accumulates. In many regions, drinking water is already so heavily contaminated with uranium that its consumption is already irresponsible for health. In November of this year, therefore, a uranium directive for drinking water was created. When this comes into force, many wells have to close. "This does not solve the problem in any way," warns the expert.

Upon request, the Federal Ministry of Economics also rejected further limit values ​​for fertilizers in the trade. A spokesman said that "there is no significant health risk from uranium in food and feed". The manufacturers also see no need for action and rely on the current legal situation. A manufacturer wrote on request: "In cooperation with the industrial association Agrar we are currently investigating the uranium pollution in our raw material sources. However, no final results are available yet." A disappointing and hardly meaningful answer.

Heavy metals damage the kidney and promote cancer
Cadmium and its compounds are generally classified as highly toxic and harmful to health. In the past, scientific studies had repeatedly alleged that cadmium is carcinogenic to humans. According to the scientist Andrea Koschinsky from the Jacobs University in Bremen, uranium in fertilizers is not dangerous due to the radioactive radiation. However, uranium has a toxic effect on the kidney and is probably carcinogenic. The fertilizers contain phosphates in which uranium is found. "Most of the phosphates were formed in the sea a long time ago, and the seawater contains a relatively large amount of uranium."

A small request to the federal government brought no all-clear
Because the Federal Government is currently unable to act, the “Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen” (Alliance 90 / The Greens) faction has started a small inquiry about uranium content in drinking and groundwater. But the answer cannot reassure consumers. A spokesman for the NDR magazine: "It gives the impression that the federal government does not even know what uranium from fertilizers in soil, plants and with people can do." Rather, you probably don't want to know about the problem. Despite fabulous scientific institutes, further research is apparently not desired. So you can probably justify the non-behavior with old studies. The show will air on Monday at 8:15 p.m. (sb)

Also read:
New cattle disease is spreading to people
Initiative mobilizes against agro-genetic engineering

Image: Michael Ottersbach / pixelio.de

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