Wiesbaden/Giessen (dpa/lhe) - According to a recent study, the massive use of disinfectants has led to heavy soil pollution in Hesse. Researchers from the Justus Liebig University (JLU) Giessen and the Hessian State Agency for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology (HLNUG) detected so-called quaternary alkyl ammonium compounds (QAAV) in 97 percent of the soil samples taken. These are used as active ingredients in cleaning agents and - if they get into the environment - can lead to dangerous antibiotic resistance, as the HLNUG announced on Friday in Wiesbaden.
According to the study published in the journal "Science of the Total Environment", the scientists discovered the foreign substance in fields and meadows as well as in vineyards and forests. Accordingly, the concentrations in soils that are regularly inundated by the floods of the Rhine or the Main were particularly high. 65 samples from the districts of Marburg-Biedenkopf, Gießen, Wetterau, Vogelsberg, Kassel and the Frankfurt area were examined.
"The spread of this group of disinfectants in the soil should be viewed critically and could - like the misuse of antibiotics - further exacerbate the problem of antibiotic resistance," the scientists conclude. However, research on this is still in its infancy.