In order to enable application of the critical load approach in the international heavy metal and POP abatement policies, critical loads of lead, cadmium, copper, zinc, lindane and benzo(a)pyrene have been calculated for Dutch forest soils. The environmental risk of atmospheric deposition of these substances on Dutch forest soils has been described in terms of the difference between the calculated present atmospheric loads and critical loads. Results indicate that the calculated critical loads strongly depend on the type of environmental quality criterium which serves as a basis for the calculation. More information on the quality criteria to be used is thus essential to gain insight in the risk of the loads of heavy metals and POPs on the terrestrial ecosystem.
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