Heavy Metal Contamination: An Alarming Threat to Environment and Human Health

  • Sandhya Mishra
  • Ram Naresh BharagavaEmail author
  • Nandkishor More
  • Ashutosh Yadav
  • Surabhi Zainith
  • Sujata Mani
  • Pankaj Chowdhary


Metals naturally exist in the crust of the earth, and their compositions vary among different localities, resulting in structural disparity of surrounding concentrations. Some heavy metals are much important in trace amounts in respect to living organisms related to their metabolic activities. High solubility of various heavy metals changes them into extremely toxic and perilous contaminant of water and soil when discharged by many industrial activities. When these metals are released into the environment, they can be leached into the underground waters, depositing in the aquifers, or run off into surface waters and soils thereby resulting in water and soil pollution. Thus, heavy metals become a potential contaminant for environment that can partake in trophic transfer in food chains. The toxicity of heavy metals mainly depends upon its relative oxidation state, which is responsible for physiological bio-toxic effects. When these metals enter into the living organisms, they, combine with proteins, enzymes, and DNA molecules, form highly stable bio-toxic compounds, thus altering their proper functioning and obstructing them from the bioreactions. Arsenic, chromium, cadmium, and lead are highly toxic and produce mutagenic, carcinogenic, and genotoxic effects. Hence, this chapter is focused on occurrence and allocation of heavy metals, their toxicological impact on environment, and their possible eco-friendly remedies for green and healthy environment.


Heavy metals Contamination Environment Toxicity Bioremediation 



The financial support received from “Science and Engineering Research Board” (SERB), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GOI), New Delhi, India, as “Major Research Project” (Grant No.:EEQ/2017/000407) and University Grant Commission (UGC) Fellowship received for doctoral research work is duly acknowledged.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandhya Mishra
    • 1
  • Ram Naresh Bharagava
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nandkishor More
    • 2
  • Ashutosh Yadav
    • 1
  • Surabhi Zainith
    • 1
  • Sujata Mani
    • 3
  • Pankaj Chowdhary
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Bioremediation and Metagenomics Research (LBMR), Department of Environmental MicrobiologyBabasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (A Central University)LucknowIndia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Sciences (DES)Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (A Central University)LucknowIndia
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryGramin Science (Vocational) CollegeVishnupuri, NandedIndia

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