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Table 4 Tentative comparison of costs and benefits of fertilizer use

From: Estimation of incidence and social cost of colon cancer due to nitrate in drinking water in the EU: a tentative cost-benefit assessment

  Emission Unit cost value Unit benefit value Net unit benefit
  kg/ha/yr N euro/kg N-use or N-emission euro/kg N-fertilizer
Nitrogen fertilizer use1 100 - 200 0.6 - 0.8 (0.7) 1.2 - 3.5 (2.5) 3 0.6 - 2.7 (1.8)
   Health costs2   
Nitrate leaching 10 - 40 0.1 - 2.4 (0.7)   -0.5 - 0.0 (-0.15)
Nitrogen oxide emission to air 0.2 - 1.2 2 - 32 (20)   -0.2 - 0.0 (-0.12)
Ammonium emission to air 1 - 6 2 - 36 (12)   -1.1 - 0.0 (-0.35)
Total     0.6 - 1.0 (1.3)
  1. Comparison of the health cost of nitrate leaching with the social benefit of fertilizer use, and with health costs of emissions of nitrogen oxides and ammonia from fertilizer (ranges and, in between brackets, mean values).
  2. 1)Use of CAN (calcium ammonium nitrate) on winter wheat.
  3. 2) Range refers to range of values for EU member states.
  4. 3)Inferred from nine data sets of field trials across Europe.