Commission consults stakeholders on cadmium in fertilisers

The Commission has launched a stakeholder consultation on future legislation which could introduce EU-wide upper limits for cadmium in fertilisers.

The Commission is preparing legislation setting EU-wide upper limits for cadmium in fertilisers to protect consumers and ensure a harmonised EU market for phosphate fertilisers. This new legislation would gradually introduce the following maximum cadmium levels in fertilisers over a period of 15 years:

  • 5 years after the entry into force of this draft proposal, the limit will be 60 mg of Cd/kg P2O5;
  • 10 years after the entry into force of this draft proposal, the limit will be 40 mg of Cd/kg P2O5;
  • 15 years after the entry into force of this draft proposal the limit will be 20 mg of Cd/kg P2O5.

The Commission also presented an extended impact assessment of the introduction of these stricter limits to the presence of cadmium in fertilisers.


Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal with serious risks to human health and the environment. It is present in the phosphate rocks which are mined for use in the production of phosphate fertilisers. Without a prior decadmiation treatment, fertilisers manufactured from these rocks retain their cadmium content. The use of such fertilisers increases the concentration of cadmium in the agricultural soil presenting a danger to our food.

There is no harmonised EU legislation for the use of these fertilisers. During their negotiations to join the EU, Finland, Austria and Sweden received temporary derogations prohibiting the free trade of fertilisers within the Union.


  • The consultation will run until 26 September 2003. Contributions can be sent by email to .



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