Heavy metals are a group of elements that have a high atomic weight and density. Below is a periodic table highlighting the heavy metals of special interest in biology.
Not all heavy metals are bad for us. Some heavy metals, like iron, copper and zinc, are essential nutrients that our bodies need in small amounts. However, others, like lead and mercury, can be toxic even in very small quantities. When people talk about heavy metals, they are often referring to the ones that can cause harm to human health and the environment. These elements are found naturally in the environment, but human activities like mining, industrial processes, and waste disposal can release them into the air, water, and soil. Exposure to these toxic heavy metals can lead to a range of health problems, including damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and liver, as well as developmental problems in children.
Below are some of the posts related to heavy metals in general.
If you are interested in specific heavy metals, scroll to the bottom of the page to find links to specific heavy metals library pages. We have pages on the "good" ones such as iron, zinc and selenium, as well as the problematic ones, such a mercury and aluminium.