Content

Lead and Cadmium in Soils

Summary

The soil in Berlin is, in part heavily, contaminated with lead, cadmium and other heavy metals. The excessive intake of lead and cadmium, e.g. through plant-based food, can cause various diseases, not only in humans but also in animals. Peruse the following pages to find out which areas were affected in 1990.

Especially deposits from former industrial plants or landfills, the contamination of groundwater by polluted wastewater and the introduction of fertilisers containing heavy metals are considered to be causes for heavy metals in soils and plants. In the vicinity of airports heavy metals are also introduced into the soil from the air, which was also the case along busy roads before the introduction of lead-free petrol.

Between 1982 and 1990, a variety of measurement programmes were implemented in the urban area. The problem, however, persists to this day. Heavy metals can only be removed by stripping away the topmost layers of the earth as part of a soil rehabilitation programme. Hence, a lot of heavy metals still remain in the soil today. Both the “Lead and Cadmium in Soil” and “Lead and Cadmium in Plants” maps provide an overview of the situation until 1990, drawing on some 2,900 measuring points.

The findings of the above-mentioned measuring programmes indicate that, throughout the entire city area of Berlin, allotment garden soils are, in part heavily, contaminated with lead and cadmium. All former sewage farms displayed cadmium values that were too high. Check out these maps to learn how the contamination situation developed until 1990.