CONCENTRATION OF CADMIUM IN VEGETABLES GROWN ON CONTAMINATED GARDENS AND IN PURCHESED VEGETABLES
Self-supply with home-produced vegetables is very common in urban areas, where cadmium is a characteristic pollutant due to its anthropogenic origin. It has a harmful effect on human health. People are exposed to cadmium in different ways. One of the most common is through consumption of contaminated food, such as home-produced vegetables. However, different vegetables accumulate cadmium in different concentrations and as such pose different risk to human health. In this research 6 species of vegetables were sampled: endive, chicory, courgettes, tomato, onion and carrot. Vegetables (edible parts) were sampled in gardens of the Municipality of Celje, which is the third largest city in Slovenia. In some areas soils in the city and its vicinity are polluted with heavy metals (e.g. cadmium, lead, zinc) due to past industrial activities. Sampling area was stratified into 6 zones according to Slovenian legislation and the level of soil pollution with cadmium (mg/kg DW): <0.99, 1.00 - 1.99; 2.00 – 3.99; 4 – 7.99; 8 – 11.99; >12. Additionally, vegetables were purchased in local shops, markets and supermarkets in order to compare concentrations of cadmium in vegetables grown in gardens and in purchased vegetables. The main goal of this research was to determine whether purchased vegetables contain significantly lower concentration of cadmium than vegetables produced on gardens of the Municipality of Celje. Results showed that the significant difference between the average concentrations of cadmium in purchased and garden vegetables was observed in vegetables produced in gardens with soil cadmium content above 2 mg/kg DW. Therefore, the recommendation of rather to purchase vegetable than to produce it at home garden is justified in areas where the contamination of soil with cadmium is whether above 2 mg/kg DW, when producing carrot, chicory and endive or above 4 mg/kg DW, when producing courgettes, tomato and onion.
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