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