Concerning relatively high potential for application of MSW compost in Iran mainly aimed to improve the soil conditions, a study was conducted in form of a literature survey focusing on MSW compost quality. The main concern being studied was the presence of two major groups of contaminants including heavy metals and pathogens. Accordingly an extensive set of data concerning the quality of MSW compost in Europe and North America was collected through available literature and compared to that of Iran. The data was compared in terms of agricultural value and risks associated with the contaminants of interest. It was found that two heavy metals namely Cd and Cr were in high risk. For Cd, estimated daily absorption may amount to 23% of acceptable daily intake (ADI) and 40% for Cr. These were extreme values estimated from the most contaminated composts which were uncommon.
It was found that composts persist in the soil for several years and the repeated applications may lead to an accumulation of pollutants. The risk associated with inhalation of microorganisms is also considerable.