Arsenic in agricultural and grazing land soils of Europe

Timo Tarvainen, Stefano Albanese, Manfred Birke, Michal Poňaviĉ, Clemens Reimann, M. Andersson, A. Arnoldussen, R. Baritz, M. J. Batista, A. Bel-Lan, D. Cicchella, A. Demetriades, B. De Vivo, E. Dinelli, W. De Vos, M. Duris, A. Dusza-Dobek, O. A. Eggen, M. Eklund, V. Ernstsen & 64 others P. Filzmoser, T. E. Finne, D. Flight, S. Forrester, M. Fuchs, U. Fugedi, A. Gilucis, M. Gosar, V. Gregorauskiene, A. Gulan, J. Halamić, E. Haslinger, P. Hayoz, G. Hobiger, R. Hoffmann, J. Hoogewerff, H. Hrvatovic, S. Husnjak, L. Janik, C. Johnson, G. Jordan, J. Kirby, J. Kivisilla, V. Klos, F. Krone, P. Kwecko, L. Kuti, A. Ladenberger, A. Lima, J. Locutura, P. Lucivjansky, D. Mackovych, B. I. Malyuk, R. Maquil, M. J. McLaughlin, R. G. Meuli, N. Miosic, G. Mol, P. Négrel, P. O'Connor, K. Oorts, R. T. Ottesen, A. Pasieczna, V. Petersell, S. Pfleiderer, C. Prazeres, U. Rauch, Salpeteur, A. Schedl, A. Scheib, I. Schoeters, P. Sefcik, E. Sellersjö, F. Skopljak, I. Slaninka, A. Šorša, R. Srvkota, T. Stafilov, V. Trendavilov, P. Valera, V. Verougstraete, D. Vidojević, A. M. Zissimos, Z. Zomeni

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Arsenic concentrations are reported for the <2mm fraction of ca. 2200 soil samples each from agricultural (Ap horizon, 0-20cm) and grazing land (Gr, 0-10cm), covering western Europe at a sample density of 1site/2500km2. Median As concentrations in an aqua regia extraction determined by inductively coupled plasma emission mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) were 5.7mg/kg for the Ap samples and 5.8mg/kg for the Gr samples. The median for the total As concentration as determined by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) was 7mg/kg in both soil materials. Maps of the As distribution for both land-use types (Ap and Gr) show a very similar geographical distribution. The dominant feature in both maps is the southern margin of the former glacial cover seen in the form of a sharp boundary between northern and southern European As concentrations. In fact, the median As concentration in the agricultural soils of southern Europe was found to be more than 3-fold higher than in those of northern Europe (Ap: aqua regia: 2.5 vs. 8.0mg/kg; total: 3 vs. 10mg/kg). Most of the As anomalies on the maps can be directly linked to geology (ore occurrences, As-rich rock types). However, some features have an anthropogenic origin. The new data define the geochemical background of As in agricultural soils at the European scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


Cite this

Tarvainen, T., Albanese, S., Birke, M., Poňaviĉ, M., Reimann, C., Andersson, M., ... Zomeni, Z. (2013). Arsenic in agricultural and grazing land soils of Europe. Applied Geochemistry, 28, 2-10.