Heavy metals

Main results for heavy metals are:

  • The moss survey provides a cost effective method for monitoring heavy metal pollution across Europe at a high spatial resolution.(Heavy metal moss report)
  • Spatial trends of heavy metal concentrations in mosses are metal-specific. However, in general the lowest concentrations are observed in (north) Scandinavia, the Baltic States and northern parts of the United Kingdom and the higher concentrations in Belgium and eastern European countries(Heavy metal moss report)
  • For cadmium and lead, concentration in mosses show the highest correlations with modelled depositions, followed by total emissions and the proportion of urban land use in a 100 km radius in Europe. For mercury, correlations between the concentration in mosses and modelled depositions or anthropogenic emissions are low. (Annual report 2008/9)
  • Between 1990 and 2005, the metal concentration in mosses has declined for arsenic (72%), cadmium (52%), copper (20%), iron (45%), nickel (20%), lead (72%), vanadium (60%) and zinc (29%), but not for chromium and mercury.  Despite these general European trends, country and region-specific temporal trends were observed, including increases in metal concentrations.  (Heavy metal moss report)