About Heavy-Metals contamination

About Heavy-Metals contamination

  • Heavy metals are metallic elements with an atomic number greater than 20.
  • They are trace elements having a density at least five times that of water.
  • Some of these elements are necessary for growth, development and functioning of living organisms
  • These include Copper, zinc, chromium, iron etc.
  • Those which are unnecessary include cadmium, lead, mercury.
  • However, beyond a certain limit all of them are toxic for plants, animals and humans.
  • These elements penetrate the body by inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption.
  • If heavy metals accumulate in body tissues faster than the body’s detoxification a gradual build-up of these toxins occurs.
  • Vegetables provide the trace elements and heavy metals.
  • Minor or trace elements are essential for good health if they come from an organic or plant source.
  • In contrast, if they come from an inorganic or metallic source, they become toxic.
  • Vegetables and fruits accumulate higher amounts of heavy metals because they absorb these metals in their leaves.

Effects of heavy metals in food

  • cardiovascular, kidney, nervous, bone diseases,
  • decreasing immunological defences,
  • intrauterine growth retardation,
  • impaired psychosocial faculties,
  • disabilities associated with malnutrition
  • upper gastrointestinal cancer

Effects of heavy metals in air

  • Manganese, lead and nickel are neurotoxins that damage the brain.
  • Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead.
  • Exposures to even low levels of lead early in life have been linked to effects on IQ, learning, memory and behavior.
  • Toxic metals are responsible for rising cases of brain strokes among youngsters in the city.

Section : Environment & Ecology