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Toxic Mechanisms of Five Heavy Metals: Mercury, Lead, Chromium, Cadmium, and Arsenic. The industrial activities of the last century have caused massive increases in human exposure to heavy metals. Mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium, and arsenic have been the most common heavy metals that induced human poisonings.
Can you explain the meaning of “safe” and “unsafe” for levels of any five of the toxic metals you studied this week? Explain why some metals, called essential metals with potential for toxicity, can be present and safe in trace amounts while other essential metals with potential for toxicity cannot be safe even at low concentrations. In your journal, also reflect on the following questions:
- Are there any metals that would never be safe at any detectable levels?
- Why is this the case for these metals?
- Give examples of cases in which the federal government has lowered standards for exposure to toxic metals in drinking water as epidemiologic knowledge regarding their adverse has accumulated.
- Given the lead poisoning that occurred in Flint, Michigan between 2014 – 2019, elaborate on why lead contamination remains a concern for environmental health experts.
- Hypothesize why racial and ethnic minorities continue to be impacted by toxic metal exposures at higher levels than whites.
- Close your journal by discussing if you believe “safe” lead levels will always be an oxymoron.
Your journal assignment should be at least 500 words in length.