The geochemistry team at BGS is interested in human exposure to potentially harmful elements in soils. Exposure may occur as a result of eating root vegetables, breathing in soil dust swept off farmland, or through handling soil in the garden for example. The extent to which exposure occurs is dependent on the bioaccessibility of elements and the mechanism by which contact is made.
BGS scientists are estimating the bioaccessibility of elements through three exposure routes: ingestion, inhalation and absorption (through the skin). The team already have robust methods for assessing exposure via ingestion, and are currently developing methods to estimate exposure dermally and via inhalation.
Using this bioaccessibility data, soil chemistry and information on the physiochemical properties of soil, data about likely exposure can be generated. Our intention is to create a national map that predicts bioavailability of a range of compounds.
For more information contact Dr Jo Wragg.