About this book
Heavy metals in the environment continue to receive attention due to the greater understanding of their toxicological importance in ecosystems, agriculture and human health.
Research on potentially harmful elements (PHEs) in life, agriculture and environmental sciences is extensively increasing since the last decades, owing to the larger consciousness of general population on the risks induced by anthropic activities.
This book is dedicated to the occurrence and behaviour of PHEs in the different compartments of the environment, with special reference to soil as one of the most vulnerable ecosystems, and a precious resource with limited resilience capacity.
Therefore, starting from the atmosphere (chapter 1), through the aquatic environment (chapter 2) and the different soil uses (chapters 3, 4), the book also encompasses all the anthropic systems where PHEs play a significant role (mine and urban areas, chapters 5, 6). The soil-plant relationships, and the element fluxes from soil to plant and the food chain, including an overview on soil remediation, are explored in chapters 7, 8. In the last part of the book, trace elements join the food safety (chapter 9) and the risk assessment (chapter 10), concluding with the potential risk to human health (chapter 11), which is the main purpose of the whole book: to ensure a safe environment and a good quality of life to new generations.
The book provides new insight on the role and function of PHEs in the environmental and human health, following fundamental textbooks, without forgetting recent thousands of contributions from several scientific domains, not only soil science, but also plant physiology, biology, epidemiology, medicine, and in particular oncology.
The book covers a list of the most environmentally important elements involved in environmental and human health. Key elements include: arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), selenium (Se). Emerging are those elements that have received less scientific attention, but nevertheless are of potential environmental concern, with reflection on human health.