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Soil ingestion in farm animals - A review
Anders H. Herlin, Inger Andersson
The effects of soil ingestion in farm animals have been discussed from time to time especially
as soil can be a source for the animals' supply of micro elements. It is also evident that soil can
be a source of deposited contaminants. In the industrialised world, heavy metal deposition may
be serious. Ground deposition of radioactive elements over large areas following nuclear power
plant accidents proved to be a reality after the Chernobyl accident, as also earlier global fallout
from nuclear weapons tests. The transfer of deposited elements of different origins to animal
products such as meat and milk and then to the human diet may be increased by the animals'
The present review gives several aspects on the phenomenon of soil ingestion in farm
animals. The study is included in research project EKO 2.1, "Transfer of radiocaesium and
radiostrontium from soil to vegetation and to lambs", within the research programme of NKS
(Nordisk karnsakerhetsforskning). A preliminary version of the report was presented at the
NKS-Seminar in Nesbru, Asker, Norway in November 1995.