Metal poisoning

What is Metal poisoning?

Metal toxicity or metal poisoning is the toxic effect of certain metals in certain forms and doses on life. Some metals are toxic when they form poisonous soluble compounds. Certain metals have no biological role, i.e. are not essential minerals, or are toxic when in a certain form. In the case of lead, any measurable amount may have negative health effects. Often heavy metals are thought as synonymous, but lighter metals may also be toxic in certain circumstances, such as beryllium and lithium. Not all heavy metals are particularly toxic, and some are essential, such as iron. The definition may also include trace elements when considered in abnormally high, toxic doses. An option for treatment of metal poisoning may be chelation therapy, which is a technique which involves the administration of chelation agents to remove metals from the body.

Toxic metals sometimes imitate the action of an essential element in the body, interfering with the metabolic process to cause illness. Many metals, particularly heavy metals are toxic, but some heavy metals are essential, and some, such as bismuth, have a low toxicity. Most often the definition of toxic metals includes at least cadmium, lead, mercury and the radioactive metals. Metalloids (arsenic, polonium) may be included in the definition. Radioactive metals have both radiological toxicity and chemical toxicity. Metals in an oxidation state abnormal to the body may also become toxic: chromium(III) is an essential trace element, but chromium(VI) is a carcinogen.

Toxicity is a function of solubility. Insoluble compounds as well as the metallic forms often exhibit negligible toxicity. The toxicity of any metal depends on its ligands. In some cases, organometallic forms, such as methylmercury and tetraethyl lead, can be extremely toxic. In other cases, organometallic derivatives are less toxic such as the cobaltocenium cation.

Decontamination for toxic metals is different from organic toxins: because toxic metals are elements, they cannot be destroyed. Toxic metals may be made insoluble or collected, possibly by the aid of chelating agents. Alternatively, they can be diluted into a sufficiently large reservoir, such as the sea, because immediate toxicity is a function of concentration rather than amount. However, bioaccumulation has the potential to reverse this.

Toxic metals can bioaccumulate in the body and in the food chain. Therefore, a common characteristic of toxic metals is the chronic nature of their toxicity. This is particularly notable with radioactive heavy metals such as radium, which imitates calcium to the point of being incorporated into human bone, although similar health implications are found in lead or mercury poisoning. The exceptions to this are barium and aluminium, which can be removed efficiently by the kidneys.

Questions and answers on "Metal poisoning"

I have a Stryker ABG-II Hip Replacement and was diagnosed with High Cobalt Levels. I'm getting rashes behind my ears and in my scalp and just...

doctor1 MD

Welcome to hcm.
It may be due to that high level of cobalt. You need to consult a dermatologist.
Feel free to contact me anytime@0000

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THIS SICKNESS IS WITH ME FOR LONG TIME Initial 1. Neurological signs are: muscle weakness and excruciating pains. 2. Abdominal pain, nausea,...

doctor1 MD

Brief Answer:
Suspecting poisoning based on symptoms sir

Detailed Answer:
Hello sir and welcome.

Thank you for writing to us.

Based on your...

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i have one plate and 10 screws in my left leg, was operated before 5 years for the fracture at upper end of the tibia, recently i feel weakness, my...

doctor1 MD

Hi, thanks for writing to HCM.

There is absolutely no correlation or connection between the plate & screws in the body and the development of...

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