Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Sewage Sludge Amended Soil-Crop Systems
Sewage sludges can contain organic chemicals from a variety of sources at low concentrations. A previous report ( 02/SL/04/2 ) concluded that polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) do not accumulate in the terrestrial foodchain and that a proposed EC limit value appears inappropriate. This report describes a study to address the issue. Worst case scenarios of sewage sludge being applied to the surface of grassland were investigated. Pot trials were also conducted with carrots and lettuce to investigate realistic or elevated sewage sludge application rates. The outcome of these studies was that typical UK sludges contain PAH concentrations above the suggested limits, precluding them from agricultural use. Evidence from this work suggests that the sludges pose no risk to the environment, animal or human health when applied under suitably controlled conditions.
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