Government looking into high heavy metal concentrations in Danish agriculture

Excessive levels of zinc and copper connected to pig farming

According to a new report, there are high concentrations of zinc and copper in several areas of Danish agriculture.

Copper and zinc are used in food for pigs and in medicine for piglets, and the use of pig fertiliser could lead to environmental problems in the future.

“It’s worrying, because it could damage the earth and water environments,” said the environment and food minister, Eva Kjer Hansen. “But if we start to limit the use of zinc in agriculture, it could also damage business and animal welfare.”

“So I want to be sure there is an environmental problem and how we could handle the issue. We need to know more about the zinc sources and possible solutions.”

READ MORE: More fertiliser heading to Denmark’s fields

No immediate risk
Hansen revealed she has commissioned the environmental, nature and food product authorities, Miljøstyrelsen, Naturstyrelsen and Fødevarestyrelsen, in order to gain an accurate insight into the issue.

The report, compiled by the Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE) at Aarhus University, concluded there was excessive concentrations of zinc in 45 percent of the measurements taken and in one copper measurement.

Hansen underlined that the excessive zinc and copper levels presented no immediate risk for humans.

The news comes just about a week after the Environment and Food Ministry announced it would change the law so that in future farmers can use more fertilisers on their crops.