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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances



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Phytoremediation - "The application of plant-controlled interactions with groundwater and organic and inorganic molecules at contaminated sites to achieve site-specific remedial goals." - Landmeyer, 2011

Phytoremediation - "Phytoremediation is the use of green plants to remove pollutants from the environment or render them harmless ... 'Green' technology uses plants to 'vacuum' heavy metals from the soil through the roots ... While acting as vacuum cleaners, the unique plants must be able to tolerate and survive high levels of heavy metals in soils." - Becker, 2000

Phytoremediation - "Phytoremediation uses plants to clean up pollution in the environment. Plants can help clean up many kinds of pollution including metals, pesticides, explosives, and oil. The plants also help prevent wind, rain, and groundwater from carrying pollution away from sites to other areas. Phytoremediation works best at sites with low to medium amounts of pollution. Plants remove harmful chemicals from the ground when their roots take in water and nutrients from polluted soil, streams, and groundwater ... Once inside the plant, chemicals can be stored in the roots, stems, or leaves; changed into less harmful chemicals within the plant; or changed into gases that are released into the air as the plant transpires (breathes)." - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2001

Phytoremediation - "Phytoremediation is the direct use of green plants and their associated microorganisms to stabilize or reduce contamination in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water, or ground water ... Sites with low concentrations of contaminants over large cleanup areas and at shallow depths present especially favorable conditions for phytoremediation." - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011

Phytoremediation - "Phytoremediation is the use of vegetation for in situ treatment of contaminated soils, sediments, and water. It is best applied at sites with shallow contamination of organic, nutrient, or metal pollutants ... Phytoremediation is an emerging technology for contaminated sites that is attractive due to its low cost and versatility." - Schnoor, 1997

Phytoremediation - "Remediation of contaminated soil in situ using vegetation ... Phytoremediation is carried out by growing plants that hyperaccumulate metals in the contaminated soil." - National Research Council, 1997

USGS Phytoremediation Information

More Phytoremediation Information


Becker, H., 2000, Phytoremediation--Using plants to clean up soils: Agricultural Research v. 48, no. 6.

Landmeyer, J.E., 2011, Introduction to phytoremediation of contaminated groundwater: 431 p.

National Research Council, 1997, Innovations in ground water and soil cleanup--From concept to commercialization: Washington, D.C., National Academies Press, 310 p.

Schnoor, J.L., 1997, Phytoremediation: Ground-Water Remediation Technologies Analysis Center Technology Evaluation Report TE-98-01.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2001, A citizen's guide to phytoremediation: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Technology Innovation Office.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011, Using phytoremediation to clean up sites: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, access date June 2, 2011.


Disclaimer: The definitions on this page are provided for information purposes only, and do not indicate endorment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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