Soil contamination occurs when substances are added to soil, resulting in increases in concentrations\ud above background or reference levels. Pollution may follow from contamination when contaminants\ud are present in amounts that are detrimental to soil quality and become harmful to the environment or\ud human health. Contamination can occur via a range of pathways including direct application to land and\ud indirect application from atmospheric deposition.\ud Contamination was identified by SEPA (2001) as a significant threat to soil quality in many parts of\ud Scotland. Towers et al. (2006) identified four principal contamination threats to Scottish soils: acidification;\ud eutrophication; metals; and pesticides. The Scottish Soil Framework (Scottish Government, 2009) set out\ud the potential impact of these threats on the principal soil functions.\ud Severe contamination can lead to “contaminated land” [as defined under Part IIA of the Environmental\ud Protection Act (1990)]. This report does not consider the state and impacts of contaminated land on\ud the wider environment in detail. For further information on contaminated land, see ‘Dealing with Land\ud Contamination in Scotland’ (SEPA, 2009).\ud This chapter considers the causes of soil contamination and their environmental and socio-economic\ud impacts before going on to discuss the status of, and trends in, levels of contaminants in Scotland’s soils
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