an introduction to the health effects of metals
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An Introduction To The Health Effects of Metals. A Small Dose of ™ Metal. Complex relationship to metals – Nutritionally Important Toxicologically Important Medical Important Chelation. Introduction. Ancient Awareness. Lead - usage began 4000 years ago

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introduction
Complex relationship to metals –

Nutritionally Important

Toxicologically Important

Medical Important

Chelation

Introduction
ancient awareness
Ancient Awareness
  • Lead - usage began 4000 years ago
  • Hippocreates – 370 BC noted abdominal colic in miner
  • Arsenic – therapeutic and a poison (400 BC)
  • “Lead makes the mind give way”. The Greek Dioscerides 2nd century BC
historical awareness
Historical Awareness
  • 80 of 105 elements in the periodic table are labeled as metals
  • “Mad Hatter” – mercury exposure
thoughts on metals
Thoughts on Metals
  • Redistribution
    • Naturally occurring – break down of rock
    • Human – mining, purify, recombine, use
    • E.g. lead – rise in Greenland ice
  • Changed form
    • E.g. inorganic to organic mercury
  • Occupational exposure
  • Home exposure
susceptibility to metals
Susceptibility to Metals
  • Age – young or old?
  • Nutrition (competion with essential metals)
  • Allergic response (immune system)
  • Form of metal (organic or inorganic)
  • Lifestyle – smoking or alcohol
  • Occupation
  • Home environment (lead paint?)
nutritionally important
Nutritionally Important

Some metals have very important physiological functions

  • Chromium (Cr)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Selenium (Se)
  • Zinc (Zn)

Cr

Cu

Fe

Mg

Mn

Se

Zn

chromium cr
Chromium (Cr)
  • Use – essential element, associated with insulin, stainless steel, tanning leather
  • Source –food supply, inhalation
  • Recommended daily – 50-200 µg
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – acute exposure cause kidney damage, lung cancer
  • Facts – comes in different oxidized forms – Cr3+, Cr6+
copper cu
Copper (Cu)
  • Use – essential element, widely used
  • Source – readily available in food
  • Recommended daily – 1.5-3.0 mg
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – deficiency – anemia
        • - excess rare, Wilson’s disease
  • Facts – excess treated with penicillamine
      • - can be toxic grazing animals
iron fe
Iron (Fe)
  • Use – oxygen carrying hemoglobin
  • Source – food
  • Recommended daily – 10-15 mg
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – excess causes bloody fesses, bloody vomit, liver damage
  • Facts - 3-5 grams in the body
      • 67% associated with hemoglobin
magnesium mg
Magnesium (Mg)
  • Use – essential nutrient, associated with many enzymes, antacids
  • Recommended daily – 280-350 mg
  • Source – food supply, nuts, cereals, seafood, meats, drinking water
  • Absorption – small intestine
  • Toxicity – deficiency – convulsions
        • - excess – nervous system
  • Facts – 20 grams in body
manganese mn
Manganese (Mn)
  • Use – trace element, associated with many enzymes
  • Source – food supply, grains, nuts
  • Recommended daily – 2 to 5 mg
  • Absorption – intestine poor (5%)
  • Toxicity – inhalation – respiratory disease, nervous system, Parkinson’s -like syndrome, psychiatric disorders
  • Facts – half-live 37 days
selenium se
Selenium (Se)
  • Use – essential element, present in most tissue, anticancer, reduces toxicity of metal mercury and cadmium
  • Source – food supply, shrimp, meat
  • Recommended daily – 55-70 µg/day, not to exceed 200 µg/day
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – deficiency – heart disorders
        • - excess – “blind staggers”, neurological effects
zinc zn
Zinc (Zn)
  • Use – essential element, cofactor with several enzymes, and proteins
  • Source – food supply, drinking water
  • Recommended daily – 12-25 mg
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – deficiency – impaired growth, neurological disorders, - inhalation can cause metal fume fever
toxic metals
Toxic Metals
  • Aluminum (Al)
  • Arsenic (As)
  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Cobalt (Co)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Mercury – Inorganic (Hg)
  • Mercury – Organic (Hg-CH3)
  • Nickel (Ni)
  • Tin (Sn)

Al

As

Cd

Co

Pb

Hg

Hg-CH3

Ni

Sn

aluminum al
Aluminum (Al)
  • Use – wide range of consumer products, airplanes to cans
  • Source – food, drinking water
  • Absorption – poor
  • Toxicity – Dialysis dementia, possibly neurotoxic
  • Facts – non-essential, intake 1-10 mg/day
arsenic as
Arsenic (As)
  • Use – pesticide and herbicide
  • Source – food, drinking water
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – cancer, heart, liver, neurological
  • Facts – exists in different states – trivalent (most common), pentavalent, arsenic trioxide, organic and inorganic ...etc…
beryllium be
Beryllium (Be)
  • Use – metal alloy, nuclear power plants
  • Source – workplace, coal combustion
  • Absorption – lung, skin
  • Toxicity – lung, can be delayed and is progressive, contact dermatitis probable carcinogen
  • Facts – discovered in 1828, more that 1250 tons from oil and coal combustion
cadmium cd
Cadmium (Cd)
  • Use – alloy in metal, paint
  • Source – shellfish, cigarette smoke, workplace – welding, paints
  • Absorption – intestine, lungs
  • Toxicity – lung, emphysema, kidney, calcium metabolism, possible lung carcinogen
  • Facts – “Itai-Itai” is Japanese for “ouch-ouch” – refers to bone pain related to calcium loss
cobalt co
Cobalt (Co)
  • Use – component of vitamin B12,
  • Source – alloy in metals, magnets
  • Recommended daily – none
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – excessive heart failure, inhalation – “hard metal” lung disease
  • Facts – once used a foaming agent in beer
lead pb
Lead (Pb)
  • Use – not essential, batteries, old paint and previously gasoline, hobbies
  • Source – home, paint, dust, kids-hands to mouth, workplace
  • Absorption – intestine (50% kids, 10% adults)
  • Toxicity – developmental and nervous system
  • Facts – developing nervous system very sensitive to low levels of exposure
inorganic mercury hg
Inorganic Mercury (Hg)
  • Use – consumer products, industry, dental amalgams, switches, thermometers
  • Source – mining, environment
  • Absorption – inhalation, intestine poor
  • Toxicity – nervous system toxicant, “Mad Hatters” disease
  • Facts – liquid silver evaporates at room temperature, bacteria convert to organic methyl mercury (see next slide)
organic mercury hg ch 3
Organic Mercury (Hg-CH3)
  • Use – limited laboratory use - most common is methyl mercury (Hg-CH3)
  • Source – contaminates some fish (e.g. tuna, shark, pike)
  • Absorption – intestine very good (90%)
  • Toxicity – nervous system toxicant, and developmental toxicant
  • Facts – bacteria convert inorganic mercury to methyl mercury then in to food supply (bioaccumulation)
nickel ni
Nickel (Ni)
  • Use – not essential, metal alloy, stainless steel
  • Source – food supply, jewelry, workplace
  • Absorption – intestine, skin
  • Toxicity – carcinogen (lung), contact dermatitis
  • Facts – discovered in 1751, 200,000 metric tons used yearly
tin sn
Tin (Sn)
  • Use – inorganic – consumer products
      • - organic – fungicide, bactericides
  • Source – food packaging
  • Absorption – intestine (low inorganic, high organic)
  • Toxicity – inorganic - little
        • - organic – central nervous system
  • Facts – triethyltin and trimethyltin most toxic
medically important
Medically Important

A small group of metals are used to treat disease

Bi

  • Bismuth (Bi)
  • Fluoride (F)
  • Gallium (Ga)
  • Gold (Au)
  • Lithium (Li)
  • Platinum (Pt)

F

Ga

Au

Li

Pt

bismuth bi
Bismuth (Bi)
  • Use – antacids, diarrhea
  • Source – mining, consumer products
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – kidney, chronic use results in range of effects
  • Facts – discovered in 1753, used to treat syphilis and malaria
fluoride f
Fluoride (F)
  • Use – tooth protection
  • Source – drinking water, food supply
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – excess causes mottled teeth enamel (fluorosis)
  • Facts – common water level 0.5 to 1.5 ppm, 3 ppm effects teeth
gallium ga
Gallium (Ga)
  • Use – visualization tool for soft tissues in x-rays
  • Source – mining, medical injection
  • Absorption – very poor
  • Toxicity – kidney
  • Facts – liquid at room temperature, half-life 4 to 5 days
gold au
Gold (Au)
  • Use – treat rheumatoid arthritis, range of industrial uses
  • Source – mining, medical injection
  • Absorption – poor
  • Toxicity – kidney, skin and mouth lesions
  • Facts – long half-life
lithium li
Lithium (Li)
  • Use – treat psychiatric disorders
  • Source – food supply, plants & meat
  • Absorption – intestine
  • Toxicity – wide range, e.g. tremor, seizures, slurred speech, cardiovascular, nausea, vomiting
  • Facts – daily intake about 2 mg
platinum pt
Platinum (Pt)
  • Use – anti-cancer agent (cisplatin), catalytic converters, metal alloy
  • Source – mining, road dust
  • Absorption – poor, as a drug intravenous administration
  • Toxicity – neuromuscular, kidney
  • Facts – inhibits cell division, treat ovarian & testicular cancer
chelation
Chelation
  • Properties
    • Metal chelators accelerate the excretion of metal from the body
    • Non-specific – can remove essential metals and elements
    • Chelate is from the Geek word for claw
  • Examples
    • BAL – one of the first, broad action but potentially toxic
    • Calcium EDTA – lead
    • Penicillamine – copper
    • Desferrioxamine – iron
    • DMPS – lead, mercury
    • Number of others
summary
Summary

We can not live without metals but some require our utmost respect.

additional information
Additional Information
  • Web Sites
          • Health Canada - Nutrition. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/lifestyles/food_nutr.html
          • U.S. Agency for Toxic Substance Disease Registry (ATSDR). http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/
          • Dartmouth Toxic Metals Research Program. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~toxmetal/HM.shtml The site has general information on toxic metals.
authorship information
Authorship Information

This presentation is supplement to

“A Small Dose of Toxicology”

For Additional Information Contact

Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT

E-mail: [email protected]

Web: www.asmalldoseof.org

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