More than 8 million acres of Chinese land are too polluted to grow crops, according to Wang Shiyuan, a deputy minister of the Ministry of Land and Resources. That figure would represent about two percent of China's 337 million acres of arable land. The research was carried out by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and found lead, cadmium, pesticides and other toxins in the tainted soil.
Cadmium, a carcinogenic metal readily absorbed the country's staple rice grain, represents a particular concern. According to the AP, authorities launched an investigation of rice mills in southern China in May after tests found half of supplies sold in Guangzhou, a major city, were contaminated with cadmium.