, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 134-140,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Nov 2012

Research progress of heavy metal pollution in China: Sources, analytical methods, status, and toxicity


Heavy metal pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems in China and a large number of people are threatened by heavy metal pollution. Extensive damage to human organs, such as liver, kidney, digestion system, and nervous system can be caused by uptake of excess heavy metals. Heavy metals in the environment can originate from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Although contamination of heavy metals has been known to be a severe environmental problem for decades, it is still getting worse in recent years and there are few feasible approaches to resolve this problem. Due to their high toxicity, prevalent existence and persistence in the environment, lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr) and arsenic (As) are commonly considered as the priority heavy metals which should be concerned and their emission should be controlled in China. This paper reviewed the pollution of heavy metals in China, focusing on the following four aspects: current status of heavy metal pollution in China, sources of heavy metals in China, toxicity and potential risk, and possible reduction strategies.