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Air Pollution by Lead and other Trace Metals

  • Paul R. Harrison
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 40)

Abstract

Ecological investigations on heavy metals and trace metals, in general, have increased markedly in recent years. The impetus for these investigations is such that we have come to realize that the biological function of most organisms is dependent upon the proper balance and availability of trace elements in their life span. For example, if we were to consider the response of an organism to exposures of various concentrations of any element, we would, in general, have four modes of response. A typical response curve would show an increasingly beneficial effect up to an optimal value. The curve would then turn downward into a tolerance region where the organism would tolerate more than its optimum requirements with little difficulty. We then enter into a “stress” region where side effects or injury to the organism would start occurring. The fourth region would be that of termination by a lethal dose. For some elements the tolerance limits are so extensive that it would be physically difficult to assault the organisms with lethal amounts. Some metals which are essential to human existence are iron, copper, manganese, vanadium, nickel, cobalt, and zinc. Other elements such as cadmium, lead, mercury, thallium, and beryllium, are known to be toxic at low to moderate concentrations.

Keywords

Trace Metal Wind Direction Black Shale Blood Lead Level Threshold Limit Value 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul R. Harrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ControlCity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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