Professor Paul Nathanail, the keynote speaker at the first day of the three day William Smith 2009 lectures, explained how the Environment Agency (EA) was now working with scientists to use the latest breakthroughs effectively.

Professor Nathanail is an advocate of bioaccessibility to test for soil contaminates that have transferred to humans.

However, the technique has proved controversial in the past with the EA saying in 2005: “Given the current uncertainties associated with bioaccessibility testing, we consider its application to be limited at this time.”

However speaking today (21 September) he said the EA was not looking more closely and the process and bringing out guidance around it.

He said: “The big picture has seen a drift from caution to encouragement.”

In a talk that focused on arsenic contamination, University of Nottingham lecturer, explained how the recent EA documents published last Friday (18 September) which can be viewed here.

Professor Nathanail gave information on a case study where a ‘largely self sufficient’ family had been growing food in soil with low levels of arsenic contamination.

And, he revealed the bioaccessibility method was able to show ‘no evidence of exposure’ to the family.

Luke Walsh

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