Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 71–79 | Cite as

Cadmium-hazard mapping using a general linear regression model (Irr-Cad) for rapid risk assessment

  • Robert W. Simmons
  • Andrew D. Noble
  • P. Pongsakul
  • O. Sukreeyapongse
  • N. Chinabut
Original Paper


Research undertaken over the last 40 years has identified the irrefutable relationship between the long-term consumption of cadmium (Cd)-contaminated rice and human Cd disease. In order to protect public health and livelihood security, the ability to accurately and rapidly determine spatial Cd contamination is of high priority. During 2001–2004, a General Linear Regression Model Irr-Cad was developed to predict the spatial distribution of soil Cd in a Cd/Zn co-contaminated cascading irrigated rice-based system in Mae Sot District, Tak Province, Thailand (Longitude E 98°59′–E 98°63′ and Latitude N 16°67′–16°66′). The results indicate that Irr-Cad accounted for 98% of the variance in mean Field Order total soil Cd. Preliminary validation indicated that Irr-Cad ‘predicted’ mean Field Order total soil Cd, was significantly (p < 0.001) correlated (R 2 = 0.92) with ‘observed’ mean Field Order total soil Cd values. Field Order is determined by a given field's proximity to primary outlets from in-field irrigation channels and subsequent inter-field irrigation flows. This in turn determines Field Order in Irrigation Sequence (Field OrderIS). Mean Field Order total soil Cd represents the mean total soil Cd (aqua regia-digested) for a given Field OrderIS. In 2004–2005, Irr-Cad was utilized to evaluate the spatial distribution of total soil Cd in a ‘high-risk’ area of Mae Sot District. Secondary validation on six randomly selected field groups verified that Irr-Cad predicted mean Field Order total soil Cd and was significantly (p < 0.001) correlated with the observed mean Field Order total soil Cd with R 2 values ranging from 0.89 to 0.97. The practical applicability of Irr-Cad is in its minimal input requirements, namely the classification of fields in terms of Field OrderIS, strategic sampling of all primary fields and laboratory based determination of total soil Cd (T-CdP) and the use of a weighed coefficient for Cd (CoeffW). The use of primary fields as the basis for Irr-Cad is also an important practical consideration due to their inherent ease of identification and vital role in the classification of fields in terms of Field OrderIS. The inclusion of mean field order soil pH (1:5water) to the Irr-Cad model accounted for over 79% of the variation in mean Field Order bio-available (DTPA (diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid)-extractable) soil Cd. Rice is the staple food of countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (includes Vietnam, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand and Yunnan Province, China). These countries also have actively and historically mined Zn, Pb, and Cu deposits where Cd is likely to be a potential hazard if un-controlled discharge/runoff enters areas of rice cultivation. As such, it is envisaged that the Irr-Cad model could be applied for Cd hazard assessment and effectively form the basis of intervention options and policy decisions to protect public health, livelihoods, and export security.


Cadmium Hazard mapping Soil contamination 



Irrigation infrastructure-based cadmium-hazard mapping model

Field OrderIS

Field order in irrigation sequence

pH (1:5water)

Soil pH in water


Weighed coefficients


Mean total soil Cd in primary fields in irrigation sequence


Mean total soil Zn in primary fields in irrigation sequence


Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Simmons
    • 1
  • Andrew D. Noble
    • 2
  • P. Pongsakul
    • 3
  • O. Sukreeyapongse
    • 4
  • N. Chinabut
    • 4
  1. 1.International Water Management Institute (IWMI)South Asia Regional OfficeAPIndia
  2. 2.International Water Management Institute (IWMI)Southeast Asia Regional OfficePenangMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of AgricultureSoil Science Research Group, Institute of Research Development on Agricultural Production SciencesChatuchakThailand
  4. 4.Land Development Department (LDD)ChatuchakThailand

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