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HEAVY METALS
health & environmental effects
of some heavy metals
(concentration on RoHS Directive)
All materials were prepared on the basis of the work and a presentation of dr Adriana
Zaleska from Chemical Faculty, Gdańsk University of Technology
HEAVY METALS
The term heavy metal refers to any metallic
chemical element that has a relatively high
density and is toxic or poisonous at low
concentrations.
HEAVY METALS
 are natural components of the Earth's crust
 they cannot be degraded or destroyed
 to a small extent they enter our bodies via food, drinking water
and air
 as trace elements, some heavy metals (e.g. copper,
 selenium, zinc) are essential to maintain the metabolism of the
human body
 however, at higher concentrations they can lead to poisoning
 heavy metal poisoning could result, for instance, from drinking-
water contamination (e.g. lead pipes), high ambient air
concentrations near emission sources, or intake via the food
chain
THE BIGGEST DISASTERS WITH
„A SPECIAL APPEARANCE” OF
HEAVY METALS
1932-1952 Minamata
Sewage containing mercury is released by Chisso's
chemicals works into Minimata Bay in Japan. The
mercury accumulates in sea creatures, leading eventually
to mercury poisoning in the population.
In 1952, the first incidents of mercury poisoning appear
in the population of MinimataBay in Japan, caused by
consumption of fish polluted with mercury, bringing
nearly 1000 fatalities. Since then, Japan has had the
strictest environmental laws in the industrialised world.
THE BIGGEST DISASTERS WITH
„A SPECIAL APPEARANCE” OF
HEAVY METALS
1986-11-01 Sandoz
Water used to extinguish a major fire carries c. 30 t
fungicide containing mercury into the Upper
Rhine. Fish are killed over a stretch of 100 km.
The shock drives many FEA projects forwards.
See also "Pollution of the Rhine at Basel /
Sandoz".
THE BIGGEST DISASTERS WITH
„A SPECIAL APPEARANCE” OF
HEAVY METALS
1998-04 Spanish nature reserve contaminated after
environmental disaster
Toxic chemicals in water from a burst dam belonging to a
mine contaminate the Coto de Donana nature reserve
in southern Spain. C. 5 million m_ of mud containing
sulphur, lead, copper, zinc and cadmium flow down the
Rio Guadimar. Experts estimate that Europe's largest
bird sanctuary, as well as Spain's agriculture and
fisheries, will suffer permanent damage from the
pollution.
Mercury - Hg
Mercury is the only common metal which is liquid
at ordinary temperatures. It rarely occurs free in
nature and is found mainly in cinnabar ore
(HgS) in Spain and Italy.
It alloys easily with many metals, such as gold,
silver, and tin - these alloys are called amalgams.
Its ease in amalgamating with gold is used in the
recovery of gold from its ores.
Health effects of mercury
 Disruption of the nervous system
 Damage to brain functions
 DNA damage and chromosomal damage
 Allergic reactions, resulting in skin rashes,
tiredness and headaches
 Negative reproductive effects, such as sperm
damage, birth defects and miscarriages
Air pollution
 Fossil fuel combustion
 Mining
 Smelting
 Solid waste combustion
Water pollution
 the application of agricultural fertilizers and
industrial wastewater disposal
Environmental effects of mercury
 Acidic surface waters can contain significant amounts
of mercury
 When the pH values are between five and seven, the
mercury concentrations in the water will increase due to
mobilisation of mercury in the ground
 Once mercury has reached surface waters or soils
microorganisms can convert it to methyl mercury, a
substance that can be absorbed quickly by most
organisms and is known to cause nerve damage
Environmental effects of mercury
 Fish are organisms that absorb great amounts of
methyl mercury from surface waters every day
(mercury can accumulate in fish and in the food
chains)
 The effects that mercury has on animals are:
kidneys damage, stomach disruption, damage to
intestines, reproductive failure and DNA alteration
Cadmium – Cd
HEALTH EFFECTS
 Human uptake of cadmium takes place mainly
through food
 Foodstuffs that are rich in cadmium can greatly
increase the cadmium concentration in human
bodies (liver, mushrooms, shellfish, mussels,
cocoa powder and dried seaweed)
HEALTH EFFECTS
 Diarrhoea, stomach pains and severe vomiting
 Bone fracture
 Reproductive failure and possibly even infertility
 Damage to the central nervous system
 Damage to the immune system
 Psychological disorders
 Possibly DNA damage or cancer development
Environmental effects of cadmium
 Cadmium can be transported over great distances when it is
absorbed by sludge
 This cadmium-rich sludge can pollute surface waters as well as
soils
 Cadmium strongly adsorbs to organic matter in soils
 When cadmium is present in soils it can be extremely dangerous,
as the uptake through food will increase
 Soils that are acidified enhance the cadmium uptake by plants
 This is a potential danger to the animals that are dependent upon
the plants for survival – Cadmium can accumulate in their
bodies, especially when they eat multiple plants
 Cows may have large amounts of cadmium in their kidneys due
to this
Environmental effects of cadmium
 In aquatic ecosystems cadmium can
bioaccumulate in mussels, oysters, shrimps,
lobsters and fish
 The susceptibility to cadmium can vary greatly
between aquatic organisms
 Salt-water organisms are known to be more
resistant to cadmium poisoning than
freshwater organisms
Chromium - Cr
 Chromium(III) is an essential nutrient for
humans and shortages may cause heart
conditions, disruptions of metabolisms and
diabetes
 But the uptake of too much chromium(III) can
cause health effects as well, for instance skin
rashes
Chromium - Cr
Chromium(VI) is a danger to human health, mainly for
people who work in the steel and textile industry
People who smoke tobacco also have a higher chance of
exposure to chromium
Hexavalent Chromium – Chromium (VI) is a species of
chromium that is forbidden to use in electrical &
electronic industry by RoHS Directive.
HEALTH EFFECTS
 When it is a compound in leather products, it can cause
allergic reactions, such as skin rash
 After breathing it in, chromium(VI) can cause nose
irritations and nosebleeds
 Upset stomachs and ulcers
 Respiratory problems
 Weakened immune system
 Kidney and liver damage
 Alteration of genetic material
 Lung cancer
 Death
Environmental effects of chromium
 Most of the chromium in air will eventually settle and
end up in waters or soils
 Chromium in soils strongly attaches to soil particles and
as a result it will not move towards groundwater
 In water chromium will absorb on sediment and
become immobile
 Only a small part of the chromium that ends up in
water will eventually dissolve
Environmental effects of chromium
 Chromium(III) is an essential element for organisms
that can disrupt the sugar metabolism and cause heart
conditions, when the daily dose is too low
 Chromium(VI) is mainly toxic to organisms - it can
alter genetic materials and cause cancer
Lead - Pb
 Foods such as fruit, vegetables, meats, grains, seafood,
soft drinks and wine may contain significant amounts
of lead
 Cigarette smoke also contains small amounts of lead
Health effects of lead
 Disruption of the biosynthesis of haemoglobin and
anemia
 A rise in blood pressure
 Kidney damage
 Miscarriages
 Disruption of nervous systems
 Brain damage
 Declined fertility of men through sperm damage
 Diminished learning abilities of children
 Behavioural disruptions of children, such as aggression,
impulsive behaviour and hyperactivity
Health effects of lead
 Lead can enter a foetus through the placenta of
the mother
 Because of this it can cause serious damage to
the nervous system and the brains of unborn
children
That is why women in pregnancy can not work
with lead.
Lead sources
 application of lead in gasoline
 fuel combustion
 industrial processes
 solid waste combustion
Environmental effects of lead
Lead accumulates in the bodies of water organisms and
soil organisms
Health effects on shellfish can take place even when only
very small concentrations of lead are present
Body functions of phytoplankton can be disturbed when
lead interferes. Phytoplankton is an important source
of oxygen production in seas and many larger sea-
animals eat it
That is why we now begin to wonder whether lead
pollution can influence global balances
Environmental effects of lead
 Soil functions are disturbed by lead intervention,
especially near highways and farmlands, where
extreme concentrations may be present
 Also soil organisms are suffered from lead
poisoning

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Heavy metals with their causes and effect.ppt

  • 1. HEAVY METALS health & environmental effects of some heavy metals (concentration on RoHS Directive) All materials were prepared on the basis of the work and a presentation of dr Adriana Zaleska from Chemical Faculty, Gdańsk University of Technology
  • 2. HEAVY METALS The term heavy metal refers to any metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic or poisonous at low concentrations.
  • 3. HEAVY METALS  are natural components of the Earth's crust  they cannot be degraded or destroyed  to a small extent they enter our bodies via food, drinking water and air  as trace elements, some heavy metals (e.g. copper,  selenium, zinc) are essential to maintain the metabolism of the human body  however, at higher concentrations they can lead to poisoning  heavy metal poisoning could result, for instance, from drinking- water contamination (e.g. lead pipes), high ambient air concentrations near emission sources, or intake via the food chain
  • 4. THE BIGGEST DISASTERS WITH „A SPECIAL APPEARANCE” OF HEAVY METALS 1932-1952 Minamata Sewage containing mercury is released by Chisso's chemicals works into Minimata Bay in Japan. The mercury accumulates in sea creatures, leading eventually to mercury poisoning in the population. In 1952, the first incidents of mercury poisoning appear in the population of MinimataBay in Japan, caused by consumption of fish polluted with mercury, bringing nearly 1000 fatalities. Since then, Japan has had the strictest environmental laws in the industrialised world.
  • 5. THE BIGGEST DISASTERS WITH „A SPECIAL APPEARANCE” OF HEAVY METALS 1986-11-01 Sandoz Water used to extinguish a major fire carries c. 30 t fungicide containing mercury into the Upper Rhine. Fish are killed over a stretch of 100 km. The shock drives many FEA projects forwards. See also "Pollution of the Rhine at Basel / Sandoz".
  • 6. THE BIGGEST DISASTERS WITH „A SPECIAL APPEARANCE” OF HEAVY METALS 1998-04 Spanish nature reserve contaminated after environmental disaster Toxic chemicals in water from a burst dam belonging to a mine contaminate the Coto de Donana nature reserve in southern Spain. C. 5 million m_ of mud containing sulphur, lead, copper, zinc and cadmium flow down the Rio Guadimar. Experts estimate that Europe's largest bird sanctuary, as well as Spain's agriculture and fisheries, will suffer permanent damage from the pollution.
  • 7. Mercury - Hg Mercury is the only common metal which is liquid at ordinary temperatures. It rarely occurs free in nature and is found mainly in cinnabar ore (HgS) in Spain and Italy. It alloys easily with many metals, such as gold, silver, and tin - these alloys are called amalgams. Its ease in amalgamating with gold is used in the recovery of gold from its ores.
  • 8. Health effects of mercury  Disruption of the nervous system  Damage to brain functions  DNA damage and chromosomal damage  Allergic reactions, resulting in skin rashes, tiredness and headaches  Negative reproductive effects, such as sperm damage, birth defects and miscarriages
  • 9. Air pollution  Fossil fuel combustion  Mining  Smelting  Solid waste combustion
  • 10. Water pollution  the application of agricultural fertilizers and industrial wastewater disposal
  • 11. Environmental effects of mercury  Acidic surface waters can contain significant amounts of mercury  When the pH values are between five and seven, the mercury concentrations in the water will increase due to mobilisation of mercury in the ground  Once mercury has reached surface waters or soils microorganisms can convert it to methyl mercury, a substance that can be absorbed quickly by most organisms and is known to cause nerve damage
  • 12. Environmental effects of mercury  Fish are organisms that absorb great amounts of methyl mercury from surface waters every day (mercury can accumulate in fish and in the food chains)  The effects that mercury has on animals are: kidneys damage, stomach disruption, damage to intestines, reproductive failure and DNA alteration
  • 13.
  • 14. Cadmium – Cd HEALTH EFFECTS  Human uptake of cadmium takes place mainly through food  Foodstuffs that are rich in cadmium can greatly increase the cadmium concentration in human bodies (liver, mushrooms, shellfish, mussels, cocoa powder and dried seaweed)
  • 15. HEALTH EFFECTS  Diarrhoea, stomach pains and severe vomiting  Bone fracture  Reproductive failure and possibly even infertility  Damage to the central nervous system  Damage to the immune system  Psychological disorders  Possibly DNA damage or cancer development
  • 16. Environmental effects of cadmium  Cadmium can be transported over great distances when it is absorbed by sludge  This cadmium-rich sludge can pollute surface waters as well as soils  Cadmium strongly adsorbs to organic matter in soils  When cadmium is present in soils it can be extremely dangerous, as the uptake through food will increase  Soils that are acidified enhance the cadmium uptake by plants  This is a potential danger to the animals that are dependent upon the plants for survival – Cadmium can accumulate in their bodies, especially when they eat multiple plants  Cows may have large amounts of cadmium in their kidneys due to this
  • 17. Environmental effects of cadmium  In aquatic ecosystems cadmium can bioaccumulate in mussels, oysters, shrimps, lobsters and fish  The susceptibility to cadmium can vary greatly between aquatic organisms  Salt-water organisms are known to be more resistant to cadmium poisoning than freshwater organisms
  • 18. Chromium - Cr  Chromium(III) is an essential nutrient for humans and shortages may cause heart conditions, disruptions of metabolisms and diabetes  But the uptake of too much chromium(III) can cause health effects as well, for instance skin rashes
  • 19. Chromium - Cr Chromium(VI) is a danger to human health, mainly for people who work in the steel and textile industry People who smoke tobacco also have a higher chance of exposure to chromium Hexavalent Chromium – Chromium (VI) is a species of chromium that is forbidden to use in electrical & electronic industry by RoHS Directive.
  • 20. HEALTH EFFECTS  When it is a compound in leather products, it can cause allergic reactions, such as skin rash  After breathing it in, chromium(VI) can cause nose irritations and nosebleeds  Upset stomachs and ulcers  Respiratory problems  Weakened immune system  Kidney and liver damage  Alteration of genetic material  Lung cancer  Death
  • 21. Environmental effects of chromium  Most of the chromium in air will eventually settle and end up in waters or soils  Chromium in soils strongly attaches to soil particles and as a result it will not move towards groundwater  In water chromium will absorb on sediment and become immobile  Only a small part of the chromium that ends up in water will eventually dissolve
  • 22. Environmental effects of chromium  Chromium(III) is an essential element for organisms that can disrupt the sugar metabolism and cause heart conditions, when the daily dose is too low  Chromium(VI) is mainly toxic to organisms - it can alter genetic materials and cause cancer
  • 23. Lead - Pb  Foods such as fruit, vegetables, meats, grains, seafood, soft drinks and wine may contain significant amounts of lead  Cigarette smoke also contains small amounts of lead
  • 24. Health effects of lead  Disruption of the biosynthesis of haemoglobin and anemia  A rise in blood pressure  Kidney damage  Miscarriages  Disruption of nervous systems  Brain damage  Declined fertility of men through sperm damage  Diminished learning abilities of children  Behavioural disruptions of children, such as aggression, impulsive behaviour and hyperactivity
  • 25. Health effects of lead  Lead can enter a foetus through the placenta of the mother  Because of this it can cause serious damage to the nervous system and the brains of unborn children That is why women in pregnancy can not work with lead.
  • 26. Lead sources  application of lead in gasoline  fuel combustion  industrial processes  solid waste combustion
  • 27. Environmental effects of lead Lead accumulates in the bodies of water organisms and soil organisms Health effects on shellfish can take place even when only very small concentrations of lead are present Body functions of phytoplankton can be disturbed when lead interferes. Phytoplankton is an important source of oxygen production in seas and many larger sea- animals eat it That is why we now begin to wonder whether lead pollution can influence global balances
  • 28. Environmental effects of lead  Soil functions are disturbed by lead intervention, especially near highways and farmlands, where extreme concentrations may be present  Also soil organisms are suffered from lead poisoning