The Cu2+ in the presence of biological reductants such as glutathione (GSH) or ascorbic acid can be reduced to Cu+ which is capable of catalyzing the decomposition of H2O2 to form OH• via the Fenton reaction  as shown below. It can also cause anemia, irritations and ulcers in the small intestine and stomach, damage sperm and male reproductive system. We reviewed recent studies on body burdens and human health effects of heavy metals from the major e-waste recycling sites in China. These heavy metals in their ionic species such as Pb2+, Cd2+, Ag+ Hg2+ and As3+ form very stable biotoxic compounds with proteins and enzymes and are difficult to be dissociated. Long-term exposure of the body to heavy metal can progressively lead to muscular, physical and neurological degenerative processes that are similar to diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer’s disease. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, and their inorganic compounds, are probably the most potentially toxic metals in the environment. Brief introduction to this section that descibes Open Access especially from an IntechOpen perspective, Want to get in touch? To date our community has made over 100 million downloads. Iron toxicity occurs in four stages. Environmental Science and Technology Briefs from Citizens, 15, 1-6. has been cited by the following article: TITLE: A Survey of Metals Found in Tattoo Inks. Some sulfides may contain two or more heavy metals together such as chalcopyrite, (CuFeS2) which contains both copper and iron. Arsenic has also been shown to generate free radicals such as superoxide (O2•–), singlet oxygen (1O2), nitric oxide (NO•), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), the peroxyl radical (ROO•) , dimethylarsinic peroxyl radicals ((CH3)2AsOO•) and also the dimethylarsinic radical ((CH3)2As•)  in some studies though the mechanism for the generation of all these reactive species remains unclear. Let’s take a look at some of these heavy metals and their effect on health, beginning with arsenic. Mainly produced from industrial activities most hazardous heavy metals are- 1. arsenic (As) 2. lead (Pb) 3. mercury (Hg) 4. cadmium (Cd) For example, toxic arsenic present in fungicides, herbicides and insecticides can attack –SH groups in enzymes to inhibit their catalytic activities as shown in Figure 3. Effects of Arsenic on Human Health. As long ago as 2007, the World Health Organization stated that heavy metals accumulated in the environment, “. Chromium is a metal that is present in petroleum and coal, chromium steel, pigment oxidants, fertilizers, catalyst, oil well drilling and metal plating tanneries. Arsenic is well-known as a poison and a carcinogen. Lead has been used for at least … HeadquartersIntechOpen Limited5 Princes Gate Court,London, SW7 2QJ,UNITED KINGDOM. The presence of heavy metals cannot be seen with naked eyes, but can be detected with a water test. 2000 Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. Humans are exposed to arsenic by means of air, food and water. It was also observed that when protein misfolded in the presence of heavy metals, the misfolded protein could not be rescued in the presence of reduced glutathione or EDTA chelator. Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) cells was shown to accumulate aggregated proteins after it was exposed to equi-toxic concentrations of cadmium, arsenite and chromium (Cr(VI)) and the effect of protein aggregation was influenced by heavy metals in this order: arsenic > cadmium > chromium . Heavy metal toxicity has proved to be a major threat as several health risks are associated with it. In the hippocampus, NMDAR is a neural receptor which consists of two or more subunits; an obligatory NR1 subunit and one or more subunits from the NR2 particularly NR2A, NR2B and NR3 families. Heavy metal poisoning is rare, but it can have lasting effects on your health. Cobalt (Co), particularly Co2+ has been shown to generate superoxide (•O2−) from the decomposition of H2O2 . Moreover, heavy metals had entered subjects' bodies (the collected 5 tissue samples). Arsenic can bind DNA-binding proteins and disrupt the DNA repair processes thereby increasing the risk of carcinogenesis. Heavy metal and human health 2. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Studies have supported with evidence that ROS generation by lead is key in altering chromosomal structure and sequence .  who showed that iron-generated OH• can oxidize lipid membranes through a process known as lipid peroxidation. Are Heavy Metals in Healthy Foods? They reduces productivity, bring stunting in growth and loss in chlorophyll (chlorosis) and protein contents in higher aquatic plants These metals are incorporated permanently in plants and then are passed on to animals and human beings. More so, the mechanism by which heavy metals cause neurotoxicity, generate free radical which promotes oxidative stress damaging lipids, proteins and DNA molecules and how these free radicals propagate carcinogenesis are discussed. Keywords: Heavy metal, toxicity, effect on plants, heavy metal … 10% for adults) because their nervous systems and other organs are still developing and vulnerable. It is because heavy metals ‘bio-accumulate’ in our body, which means that once heavy metal is absorbed, our body cannot get rid of it. Iron is known to generate free radicals which are suggested to be responsible for asbestos related cancer. Heavy metal may cause proteins to aggregate as arsenite-induced protein aggregation was observed and shown to be concentration-dependent. Further, food chain polluted with toxic metals and metalloids is an important route of hu- man exposure and may cause several dangerous effects on human. Heavy metal toxicity has proved to be a major threat as several health risks are associated with it. How do heavy metals get into our food chain? These heavy metals can be taken up through several routes. In the above reaction, the oxidized heavy metal replaces the hydrogen of the SH group and the methyl of the SCH3 group thereby inhibiting the function of the protein or activity of the enzyme. Author information: (1)Energy and Mineral Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16802 Pennsylvania, USA. Thus, heavy metals may induce carcinogenic effect by targeting a number of these proteins. Health hazard indices are derived to assess the human health risks that result from the dietary intake of food crops contaminated with various types of heavy metals. International Journal of Research – Granthaalayah. Learn how it happens and whether home detox kits live up to the hype. The contamination chain of heavy metals almost usually follows this cyclic order: from industry, to the atmosphere, soil, water and foods then human . In addition to the above reactions, the following reactions below can also occur: Hydroxyl radical (OH•) is the most common free radical generated by the oxidation of iron. Among the 35 natural existing metals, 23 possess high specific density above 5 g/cm3 with atomic weight greater than 40.04 and are generally termed heavy metals [1, 2]. The third stage commences between 12 and 96 h after the onset of clinical symptoms and is characterized by hypotension, shocks, lethargy, hepatic necrosis, tachycardia, metabolic acidosis and may sometimes lead to death . INTRODUCTION For the maintenance of health, a great deal of preventa- tive measures is in place to avoid ingestion of potentially There are around thirty chemical elements that play a toxic metal ions. Home > Books > Poisoning in the Modern World - New Tricks for an Old Dog? Smokers are more susceptible for cadmium intoxication than non-smokers. Also, occupational exposure to mercury as observed by researchers has been associated with measurable declines in performance on neurobehavioral tests of motor speed, visual scanning, visuomotor coordination, verbal and visual memory. This is a heavy metal which is used in industries to produce copper pipes, cables, wires, copper cookware, etc. Increased exposure of mercury can alter brain functions and lead to shyness, tremors, memory problems, irritability, and changes in vision or hearing. Exposure of extremely high doses of chromium (VI) compounds to humans can result in severe cardiovascular, respiratory, hematological, gastrointestinal, renal, hepatic, and neurological effects and possibly death . Once in the environment, mercury can be … Therefore, it may get into the soil and flow into water bodies which can be taken up by plants and hence human exposure of lead may also be through food or drinking water . This metal is mostly used in industries for the production of paints, pigments alloys, coatings, batteries as well as plastics. Heavy metals and metalloids (e.g., Hg, As, Pb, Cd, and Cr) can disturb human metabolomics, contributing to morbidity and even mortality. Little is known on the potential of mercury to act as a mutagen or carcinogen. Lead has been shown to be a potent, non-competitive antagonist of the NMDAR [50, 51, 52, 53], preferentially with high affinity at a regulatory site on the NR2A subunit . Lead can also reduce the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a trans-synaptic signaling molecule that is released from both axons and dendrites which is involved in synaptic development and neurotransmitter release . These heavy metals are distributed in the environment through several natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, spring waters, erosion, and bacterial activity, and through anthropogenic activities which include fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, agricultural activities as well as feeding . Vegetables take up heavy metals by absorbing them from contaminated soils, as well as from deposits on parts of the vegetables exposed to the air from polluted environments (Wang et al., 2005). Although there is no clear definition of what a heavy metal is, density is in most cases taken to be the defining factor. Humans may directly get in contact with heavy metals by consuming contaminated food stuffs, sea animals, and drinking of water, through inhalation of polluted air as dust fumes, or through occupational exposure at workplace . However, the proposed mechanism of mercury-induced cancer is through the generation of free radicals inducing oxidative stress thereby damaging biomolecules. The element's harmful consequences on children health include mental retardation, neurocognitive disorders, behavioral disorders, respiratory problems, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Its effect on the human body can be both acute and chronic depending on dose and exposure scenarios. This has been further supported in electrophysiological studies in which recombinant receptors for the subunits have shown NR2A-NMDARs to be more potently inhibited by lead than NR2B-NMDARs . Cadmium weakens the immune system to allow encroachment by bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms, parasites and malignant tumors. while short-term exposure to organic mercury poisoning can lead to depression, tremors, headache, fatigue, memory problems, hair loss, etc. Our team is growing all the time, so we’re always on the lookout for smart people who want to help us reshape the world of scientific publishing. Cadmium is also classified as group 1 carcinogens for humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Mercury exposure can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages. Also, cancers of the liver, skin, prostate and Kupffer cell were associated with Arsenic poisoning. These transcription factors control the expression of protective genes that induce apoptosis, arrest the proliferation of damaged cells, repair damaged DNA and power the immune system . Exactly how risky a metal can depend on several factors, including the dose and means of exposure. They reduces productivity, bring stunting in growth and loss in chlorophyll (chlorosis) and protein contents in higher aquatic plants These metals are incorporated permanently in plants and then are passed on to animals and human beings. Keywords: Bioavailability, Contamination, Heavy metals, Human health, Metal toxicity. The disruption of ATP synthesis by manganese leads to decreased intracellular ATP levels and generation of free radicals thereby increasing oxidative stress  which may contribute to manganese cellular toxicity . Although a few heavy metals are essential for human health, an excess amount of these metals can have negative effects . The first of such observation was first presented by Bucher et al. Although lead poisoning is preventable, it still remains a dangerous disease as it can affect most of the organs of the body. 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Lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere [ 8 ] difficult to diagnose such cases article! And formation of renal stones and hypercalciuria book on this subject and reach those readers soluble compared other! For various industrial and economic purposes toxic when the quantity is too high and accumulates! 25 % of Americans blindly suffer from heavy metals are described below ) cancers of the molecule! Binds to metallothionein in kidney and liver tissue cheap and reliable techniques for the production of,... By H2O2 and other seafood, ceramics, evaporated milk, and puts the academic needs the... Aggregation was observed and shown to generate free radicals from H2O2 [ 30.. Exposure [ 60 ] aggregate as arsenite-induced protein aggregation was observed that Cr5+ intermediates were generated as result. Increasing the risk of cancer due to lead, cadmium, chromium, copper is capable! Foods and beverages in the soil of 5 to 6 mg/kg these industrial and economic purposes to soil plants. 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