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CHAPTER 3

Chelation Therapy For Heavy Metals

Heavy metals comprise a loosely defined group of naturally occurring elements that form positive ions in solution and have a density five times greater than that of water. Some heavy metals have essential functions (e.g., iron, zinc, copper, manganese) and are toxic only in cases of overload, whereas others have no physiological function and may be toxic even at low-level exposure. The term toxic heavy metals describes a subgroup of metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, all of which appear in the World Health Organisation's list of 10 chemicals of major concern to health. In this chapter, the most relevant heavy metal intoxications will be described in detail. Each metal has its own uptake mechanism, distribution and metabolism and its own toxicology in which it interferes with the biochemical homeostasis of cells. With most acute, and also some chronic, metal poisoning treatment with chelators is recommended and can be life saving. With other metals, especially after chronic accumulation, the removal from the body remains difficult and less well established.

Publication details

Print publication date
26 Oct 2016
Copyright year
2017
Print ISBN
978-1-78262-064-8
PDF eISBN
978-1-78262-389-2
ePub eISBN
978-1-78262-921-4

From the book series:
Metallobiology