Heavy Metal Pollution: A Global Pollutant of Rising Concern

Heavy Metal Pollution: A Global Pollutant of Rising Concern

Ashita Sharma (Guru Nanak Dev University, India), Mandeep Kaur (Guru Nanak Dev University, India), Jatinder Kaur Katnoria (Guru Nanak Dev University, India) and Avinash Kaur Nagpal (Guru Nanak Dev University, India)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9734-8.ch001
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The chapter covers various issues related to heavy metals. Here we attempt to document the possible definitions for heavy metals. Heavy metals, the elements having density higher than 3.5 g/cm2 are being added at high rate to our close vicinity. These metals lead to serious problems related to ecology and mankind. Toxic effects of heavy metals are dependent on the concentration of metals, reactivity of metal species and duration of exposure. There is a need to address the toxicological and remedial aspects of heavy metals.
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In periodic table, metals are classified as alkali metals, transition metals, alkaline earth metals and rare metals. The term heavy metals, which is commonly used in scientific literature does not belong to any well-defined section in periodic table. According to Oxford dictionary, the oldest documentation of this term was found in a book on inorganic chemistry written by Bjerrum in 1936 (Duffus, 2002; Hodson, 2004). Broadly, heavy metals can be defined on the basis of physical properties, chemical reactivity and toxicity to living organisms.

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