The Safer Phosphates Foundation is proud to announce the publication of Beyond the Surface: Analysis and Policy Recommendations for Soil Protection.

Beyond the Surface, our first publication, is a comprehensive overview of the recent regulatory and scientific developments regarding soil protection. It is a concise and thorough work, outlining both the present state of EU policy on soil contamination by heavy metals, with a focus on cadmium, and the most recent scientific consideration of European soils. It ends with a series of evidence-based policy recommendations. With this publication, we hope to raise awareness of the issue of heavy metal contamination of soils in the EU and to contribute our own input to the policy debate.

The booklet is intended for a broad audience comprising scientists, researchers, decision-makers and all those who are worried about soil pollution in Europe. Its content is based on state-of-the-art scientific, political, and legal knowledge. It offers an interdisciplinary perspective on a complex but vital problem: that of heavy metal contamination of soils. We expect European decision-makers to take heed of the data presented in the publication and to act on their duty to uphold and promote environmental stewardship in Europe.

We hope our policy recommendations can foster a productive debate on the next steps to be taken and that they will serve as a catalyst for positive policymaking at all levels. These steps include strengthening restrictions on heavy metal content in fertilizers and reviewing and revising existing regulations to ensure that phosphorus fertilizers are accurately labelled, which would enhance transparency and enable consumers to make informed choices.

We also call on the responsible authorities to set tolerance thresholds for heavy metals in fertilizers at the lowest feasible levels, such as 20 mg/kg for cadmium at most. This would drive the industry towards the adoption of cleaner production methods and reduce the prevalence of contaminants in fertilizers. There is also a need for EU-wide action to stimulate investment in technologies that can remove cadmium and other heavy metals from soils and recycle them.

Safer Phosphates is a Netherlands-based foundation dedicated to influencing EU policy and regulatory dialogue concerning phosphates and phosphate fertilizing products. Our mission is to incentivize sustainable agriculture and improve food quality in Europe by promoting high-quality phosphate fertilizers – or, as our name says, safer phosphates. Through our work, we aim to raise awareness of the contaminants present in fertilizing products and their impact on food safety and to advocate making products with low levels of contamination available in Europe and around the world.

Download PDF