Heavy Metals

Decent Essays

Heavy metals such as arsenic (metalloid), mercury, lead, and cadmium have a rich history throughout the world. From Ancient Rome to the Vietnamese War, heavy metals have been used in many different ways, sometimes leading people to death or illness. This research essay will go through the history of the above-mentioned metals, how they were used, and how they can affect people. Arsenic Among the first uses of arsenic in in 19th century was in taxidermy and painting (Cooksey 2012). Soon after, it was determined that arsenic was poisonous leading to the passing of the Arsenic Act in 1854 which required a signature for buying arsenic (Cooksey 2012). Despite this people continued to use arsenic for dyes and taxidermy. Many people grew …show more content…

The mercury that was ingested in Japan came in the form of methyl mercury. Methyl mercury can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause ataxia, sensory disturbances, and changes in mental state (Cooksey 2012). Lead In the past, lead was used in smelting, and it was known that the vapors can be deadly (Cooksey 2012). In ancient Rome, lead containers were used to hold food and drink and was a constant source of chronic toxicity for many years (Cooksey 2012). Although people were recognizing the effects of lead, it wasn’t until after 1950 that legislation banned lead in food and drink cans (Cooksey 2012). Today, lead poisoning is a huge concern in China as the country becomes more industrialized and the production and use of lead increases (Hou et al. 2013). According to Hou et. al, lead can affect many organs and destroy functions of the nervous system (2013). A person can accumulate lead in their body from the environment, and it tends to stay there. This means that younger children are more vulnerable the longer they are exposed to lead. Children’s blood brain barriers are also not fully developed yet, making them more susceptible to lead poisoning (Hou et al. 2013). It has been observed that lead can impair growth, memory, intelligence, and behavior in these children (Hou et al. 2013). Hou et al, conducted a study to observe the trend between blood lead levels and cognitive development of children (2013). They found that “blood lead levels had an obvious

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