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Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2023) | Viewed by 50463

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Heavy metal toxicity has proven to be a major threat to human health, and there are several health risks associated with it.

In fact, although metals occur naturally in the ecosystem, anthropogenic sources (i.e., pollution) contribute to their introduction in the environment. Toxic metals generally interfere with a number of physiological processes, including central nervous system (CNS), hematopoietic, hepatic, and renal functions. This results in the development of numerous human disorders. Metal toxicity depends on several factors, including dose, route of exposure, and chemical species, as well as the age, gender, genetics, and nutritional status of exposed individuals.

Although numerous studies have attempted to elucidate the mechanisms implicated in their toxicity, further studies are still needed in order to improve pharmacological treatments. 

This Special Issue on “Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment” offers to bring together the most recent research on such developments, with a focus on cellular and molecular alterations caused by exposure to heavy metals.

Prof. Dr. Maria Stefania Sinicropi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • heavy metals toxicity
  • exposure to heavy metals
  • heavy metals and environment
  • heavy metals and human health
  • detoxification of heavy metals

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

3 pages, 161 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue on “Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment”
by Maria Stefania Sinicropi
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 1127; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14031127 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Exposure to toxic metals is a well-known problem in industrialized countries [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

16 pages, 2615 KiB  
Article
A New Technique for the Passive Monitoring of Particulate Matter: Olive Pollen Grains as Bioindicators of Air Quality in Urban and Industrial Areas
by Roberta Selvaggi, Emma Tedeschini, Stefania Pasqualini, Beatrice Moroni, Chiara Petroselli and David Cappelletti
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(17), 9541; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13179541 - 23 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1302
Abstract
A new technique for the passive monitoring of particulate matter was developed, exploiting olive pollen as a bioindicator. We tested the pollen bioaccumulation efficiency when exposed to atmospheric particulate at three different sites in the Umbria region (Central Italy). Pollen grains, placed into [...] Read more.
A new technique for the passive monitoring of particulate matter was developed, exploiting olive pollen as a bioindicator. We tested the pollen bioaccumulation efficiency when exposed to atmospheric particulate at three different sites in the Umbria region (Central Italy). Pollen grains, placed into sampling holders, were exposed in Perugia, a polluted town impacted by traffic emissions; in Terni, an industrial hotspot; and at Monte Martano, a regional rural site. At the end of the exposure period, the daily deposition fluxes of the soluble and insoluble elements and soluble molecular ions present in particulate were determined, and the bioaccumulation factor (BAF) and bioaccumulation index over time (BAIt) were derived to validate the passive monitoring system, distinguish the deposition contribute from natural pollen composition, and interpret the temporal dependence of the pollen exposure to pollutants. We observed BAFs greater than 1, which means that bioaccumulation occurs, and pollen can be considered a good passive sampler for several crustal and anthropic ions and toxic elements at all sites. BAIt values greater than 1 were detected only for some of the ions and metals previously present in the pollen, like Ca, Cr, and Mn at Terni; and nitrate, Ca, and Mn at Monte Martano and Perugia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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11 pages, 12682 KiB  
Article
Hatchability and Survival of Lamproglena clariae Fryer, 1956 Exposed to Increasing Concentrations of Aqueous Aluminium
by Marilie Pretorius and Annemariè Avenant-Oldewage
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 2145; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13042145 - 7 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1323
Abstract
The effect of increased aluminium concentration on the hatchability and survival of Lamproglena clariae is unknown. During October 2019 and October 2020, infected C. gariepinus were collected from the Vaal River and transferred to a controlled aquarium room. Parasite infection was established on [...] Read more.
The effect of increased aluminium concentration on the hatchability and survival of Lamproglena clariae is unknown. During October 2019 and October 2020, infected C. gariepinus were collected from the Vaal River and transferred to a controlled aquarium room. Parasite infection was established on acclimated C. gariepinus. Adult female parasites (F2 and F3 generation) on live fish were inspected for egg strings. Viable egg strings were removed, leaving females attached to produce more eggs. Bioassays were performed in varying concentrations of Al (control, 5 µg/L, 30 µg/L, 60 µg/L, and 120 µg/L). Egg development was monitored. In situ physical and chemical water quality parameters were measured, and water samples were collected every 24 h for metal analysis using inductively coupled mass spectrometry. The experiment terminated when all juveniles perished. Five percent of exposed eggs did not hatch in the control solution, compared to 26% in 120 µg/L Al. Hatchability and survival of L. clariae were negatively affected by increased Al concentrations. By removing this ectoparasite from living fish, the need to euthanise the host organism is eliminated, emphasising the usefulness of L. clariae as a bioindicator for metal pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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12 pages, 2643 KiB  
Communication
Comparative Study of Heavy Metals in Selected Medicinal Plants and Extracts, Using Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence
by Fernando Sánchez-Lara, Eduardo Manzanares-Acuña, Valentín Badillo-Almaraz, Rosalinda Gutiérrez-Hernández, Karol Karla García-Aguirre, María Elena Vargas-Díaz, Álvaro Omar Hernández-Rangel, Karla Mariela Hernández-Sánchez and Martha Celia Escobar-León
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(22), 11772; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122211772 - 19 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1522
Abstract
The use of plants has grown constantly worldwide, being a rich source of compounds that serve as established treatments for various diseases and conditions. This paper discusses the elemental composition and the level of environmental risk of heavy metals of selected medicinal plants. [...] Read more.
The use of plants has grown constantly worldwide, being a rich source of compounds that serve as established treatments for various diseases and conditions. This paper discusses the elemental composition and the level of environmental risk of heavy metals of selected medicinal plants. The extracts are investigated by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence, a non-destructive, fast, multi-element, highly accurate and environmentally friendly analysis compared to other elementary detection methods. The studied plants Croton dioicus and Phoradendron villosum are native to Mexico. Both showed high levels of Cu and Ni, while their extracts present levels within the permissible range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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17 pages, 2309 KiB  
Article
Toxic Elements in Sediment and Water of the Crocodile River (West) System, South Africa, Following Acid Mine Drainage
by Jakob Windisch, Andreas Gradwohl, Beric Michael Gilbert, Quinton Marco Dos Santos, Gabriele Wallner, Annemarie Avenant-Oldewage and Franz Jirsa
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(20), 10531; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122010531 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2341
Abstract
The upper reaches of the Crocodile River (West) system are located in the western basin of the Witwatersrand mountain chain, an area heavily influenced by gold mining. After the spill of highly acidic and contaminated mining-influenced water into the river system in 2002, [...] Read more.
The upper reaches of the Crocodile River (West) system are located in the western basin of the Witwatersrand mountain chain, an area heavily influenced by gold mining. After the spill of highly acidic and contaminated mining-influenced water into the river system in 2002, chemical water treatment was implemented to compensate for the consequences of acid mine drainage. Some studies thereafter have shown metal concentrations of concern in the system, but never considered longer periods of time. For this study, we investigated water and sediments over a period of 13 months from 7 sampling sites in the system. In addition to physico-chemical parameters such as temperature, pH, and electrical conductivity, a multi-element analysis was conducted. We used various versions of atomic-absorption-spectroscopy, total reflection x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in filtered and acidified water samples as well as sediment leachates. Concentrations of Ni, Zn, As, Pb, and U in the sediment were clearly elevated at the site closest to the mine as well as further downstream, some of them far exceeding quality guidelines. Moreover, dissolved Mn, Fe, Ni, Zn and U occurred irregularly in concentrations of concern at the site of mining-influenced water inflow. Our findings clearly indicate a risk of further and chronic mobilization of toxic elements from this site and a possible threat to the connected river system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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15 pages, 6880 KiB  
Article
Contamination Assessment and Chemical Speciation of Lead in Soils and Sediments: A Case Study in Aguascalientes, México
by Roberto Macías, Magdalena Samanta Ramos, Alma Lilian Guerrero, María Guadalupe Farfán, Kerry Mitchell and Francisco Javier Avelar
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(17), 8592; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12178592 - 27 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1395
Abstract
Lead (Pb) contamination was evaluated in 24 contaminated soils and sediments samples, representative of areas affected by mining, agricultural, commercial and residential activity, during the rainy and dry season. Pseudo-total concentration in soils (15.7–527.2 mg kg−1) and sediments (16.3–4273.3 mg kg [...] Read more.
Lead (Pb) contamination was evaluated in 24 contaminated soils and sediments samples, representative of areas affected by mining, agricultural, commercial and residential activity, during the rainy and dry season. Pseudo-total concentration in soils (15.7–527.2 mg kg−1) and sediments (16.3–4273.3 mg kg−1) was determined and protocols were developed to analyze its chemical form, potential mobility and bioavailability. Five geochemical phases (exchangeable fraction, carbonate fraction, Fe/Mn oxide fraction, organic fraction and residual fraction) were obtained for the determination of Pb speciation and mobility using a modified Tessier sequential extraction procedure. The predominant fraction was the Fe/Mn oxide bound (both for soils and for sediments). However, their calculated mobility factors were 26% and 28%, respectively, representing significant risk to the environment. Geo accumulation values ranged from −0.7 to 4.4 (“Unpolluted”–“Highly to extremely polluted”) for soils and from −0.6 to 7.4 (“Unpolluted”–“Extremely polluted”) for sediments, suggesting the influence of human activity on the environment, mainly at sites located in the vicinity of the mine. Enrichment Factor values ranged from 2.1 to 87.8 for soils and from 2.5 to 698.7 for sediments (“Moderated enrichment”–“Extremely high enrichment”); values above 1.5 suggesting anthropogenic origin, thus representing a risk for biological organisms present in freshwater. In summary, these environmental indicators demonstrated than even in sites with low Pb concentration, contamination was observed, thus highlighting the need for continued monitoring due to the potential for significant public health risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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18 pages, 2933 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Immobilizing Agents on Zn and Cu Availability for Plants in Relation to Their Potential Health Risks
by Monika Jakubus and Ewa Bakinowska
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6538; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136538 - 28 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1204
Abstract
Soil contamination with heavy metals is one of the most important threats to the environment because they are easily incorporated into the food chain, threatening the health of plants, animals, and humans. In this study, the effectiveness of the introduced substances (compost and [...] Read more.
Soil contamination with heavy metals is one of the most important threats to the environment because they are easily incorporated into the food chain, threatening the health of plants, animals, and humans. In this study, the effectiveness of the introduced substances (compost and fly ash) was assessed in terms of its influence on the content of Cu and Zn in the soil, potential accumulation of these metals in the cultivated plants (camelina and oat), and thus in food products prepared from these plants. Therefore, the following indicators were used: bioconcentration factors calculated for the total amount (BCFT) and bioavailable amount of metals (BCFB) as well as gender-estimated daily intake (EDI) and health risk index (HRI). Regardless of gender, the EDI values ranged from 0.31 µg·kg−1 to 0.49 µg·kg−1 for Cu and from 0.9 µg·kg−1 to 1.8 µg·kg−1 for Zn in oat. For camelina, the calculated values were as follows: 4.1–8.5 µg·kg−1 for Cu and 7.1–12.1 µg·kg−1 for Zn. The HRI values were very low (in general 0.03–0.2), indicating no health risk connected with potential consumption of oat or camelina food products. The amounts of Cu and Zn in the crops grown on the soil amended with compost or fly ash were significantly lower (by 21–37% for oat and 14–34% for camelina) compared to the content of these metals in the control plants. Moreover, the levels of bioavailable metals decreased in soil as a result of the applied immobilizing agents. The study showed that the immobilization efficiency of compost and fly ash was comparable, and therefore the choice of either of these substances for the chemical remediation of soil contaminated with heavy metals is justified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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17 pages, 4733 KiB  
Article
Heavy Metals in Sediments and Greater Flamingo Tissues from a Protected Saline Wetland in Central Spain
by Nicolas Valiente, Alexander Pangerl, Juan José Gómez-Alday and Franz Jirsa
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(12), 5769; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12125769 - 7 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2223
Abstract
Aquatic ecosystems often act as sinks for agricultural, industrial, and urban wastes. Among potential pollutants, heavy metals can modify major biogeochemical cycles by affecting microorganisms and other biota. This study assessed the distribution and concentration of heavy metals (Cd, Hg, Cu, Pb, and [...] Read more.
Aquatic ecosystems often act as sinks for agricultural, industrial, and urban wastes. Among potential pollutants, heavy metals can modify major biogeochemical cycles by affecting microorganisms and other biota. This study assessed the distribution and concentration of heavy metals (Cd, Hg, Cu, Pb, and Zn) in Pétrola Lake, a heavily impacted area in central Spain where the greater flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus breeds. This study was designed to determine the concentration and identify the potential sources of heavy metals in Pétrola Lake protected area, including sediments, agricultural soils, and tissues of the greater flamingo. A six-step sequential extraction was performed to fractionate Cu, Pb, and Zn from lake sediments and agricultural soil samples to gain insight into different levels of their bioavailability. Our results showed that Pb and Cd accumulated in lake sediments and agricultural soils, respectively, most likely derived from anthropogenic sources. Multivariate analysis revealed differences between these (Pb and Cd) and the remaining studied elements (Cu, Hg, and Zn), whose concentrations were all below the pollution threshold. Lead pollution in sediments was apparently dominated by organic matter binding, with fractions up to 34.6% in lake sediments. Cadmium slightly accumulated in agricultural soils, possibly associated with the use of fertilizers, but still below the pollution thresholds. In the flamingo samples, low bioaccumulation was observed for all the studied elements. Our study suggests that human activities have an impact on heavy metal accumulation in sediments and soils, despite being below the pollution levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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12 pages, 3629 KiB  
Article
Cellular Effects of Silver Nanoparticle Suspensions on Lung Epithelial Cells and Macrophages
by Kaori Shimizu, Shosaku Kashiwada and Masanori Horie
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(7), 3554; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12073554 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1569
Abstract
Background: Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used in industrial applications as catalysts, sanitary materials, and health supplements. Generally, AgNPs have shown cytotoxicity such as cell membrane damage. However, the mechanisms of their toxicity have not been completely elucidated. Methods: The cellular effects (cell viability, [...] Read more.
Background: Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used in industrial applications as catalysts, sanitary materials, and health supplements. Generally, AgNPs have shown cytotoxicity such as cell membrane damage. However, the mechanisms of their toxicity have not been completely elucidated. Methods: The cellular effects (cell viability, induction of chemokine and cellular oxidative stress) of two AgNP water suspensions (AgNP-A for cosmetic application and AgNP-B for industrial application) on epithelial-like A549 cells and macrophage-like differentiated THP-1 (dTHP-1) cells were examined. Results: AgNPs caused enhancement of IL-8 expression and oxidative stress. The cellular uptake of AgNP-A cells was observed. However, the cellular uptake of AgNP-B into A549 cells was hardly observed. Moreover, the intracellular Ag level was increased by AgNP suspensions exposure. Cell viability was not affected by AgNP suspensions exposure. Conclusions: AgNPs induce chemokine expression and cellular oxidative stress on culture cells. The intracellular Ag level may be important for these cellular effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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16 pages, 3857 KiB  
Article
Morphological and Molecular Alterations Induced by Lead in Embryos and Larvae of Danio rerio
by Vittoria Curcio, Rachele Macirella, Settimio Sesti, Daniela Pellegrino, Abdalmoiz I. M. Ahmed and Elvira Brunelli
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(16), 7464; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11167464 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2960
Abstract
Lead (Pb) is one of the most toxic and persistent elements and may adversely affect both humans and wildlife. Given the risks posed to humans, lead is listed among priority substances of public health importance worldwide. In fish, available studies deal with high [...] Read more.
Lead (Pb) is one of the most toxic and persistent elements and may adversely affect both humans and wildlife. Given the risks posed to humans, lead is listed among priority substances of public health importance worldwide. In fish, available studies deal with high doses, and the potential hazard of Pb at low concentrations is largely unknown. Given its well-demonstrated translational value for human toxicity research, we used zebrafish as a model species. Embryos were exposed to two environmentally relevant concentrations of lead (2.5 and 5 µg/L) from 6 h post-fertilization and analyzed after 48, 96, and 144 h. The morphological abnormality arose after 48 h, and the incidence and intensity were dose and time dependent. Spinal and tail deformities were the most frequently detected alterations. Pb also modulated the expression of genes involved in the toxicological responses (sod and mt), thus demonstrating that zebrafish’s early stages are able to mount an adaptive response. Moreover, ldh and β-catenin were significantly upregulated in all groups, whereas wnt3 expression was increased in the high concentration group. Our results confirm that zebrafish embryos and larvae are valuable early warning indicators of pollution and may play a major role in ecosystems and human health monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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8 pages, 6671 KiB  
Article
Study of Heavy Metals Pollution and Vitellogenin Levels in Brown Trout (Salmo trutta trutta) Wild Fish Populations
by Carmine Merola, Angelo Bisegna, Giovanni Angelozzi, Annamaria Conte, Maria Cesarina Abete, Caterina Stella, Sabina Pederiva, Caterina Faggio, Nicoletta Riganelli and Monia Perugini
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 4965; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11114965 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 2481
Abstract
The objectives of this research were, first, to determine the concentrations of certain heavy metals in the edible tissue of wild brown trout (Salmo trutta trutta) from two different rivers located in the Abruzzi region (Italy), and then, to investigate the [...] Read more.
The objectives of this research were, first, to determine the concentrations of certain heavy metals in the edible tissue of wild brown trout (Salmo trutta trutta) from two different rivers located in the Abruzzi region (Italy), and then, to investigate the levels of variation in vitellogenin (VTG) associated with the presence of metalloestrogens. VTG is an effective indicator for endocrine disturbance, and an increase in the vitellogenin levels in male fish is widely employed as a biomarker of estrogenic contamination in the aquatic environment. The muscles of the trout were analyzed for As, Cd, Co, Cr, Ni, Pb, Al, and Zn using an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), and Hg was measured using a direct mercury analyzer (DMA-80). The calculated values of the condition factor confirmed a healthy status for this species, indicating that the aquatic habit in both rivers is suitable for brown trout life. No significant difference in the concentrations of each metal were reported between the trout from the two rivers, and no significant difference for VTG levels were found between male and female fish. It is interesting to note the high concentrations of Al/Zn, while the Pb, Cd, and Hg concentrations in all of the samples were lower than those established by the European Commission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

20 pages, 1029 KiB  
Review
Microbial-Based Heavy Metal Bioremediation: Toxicity and Eco-Friendly Approaches to Heavy Metal Decontamination
by Biao Zhou, Tiejian Zhang and Fei Wang
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(14), 8439; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13148439 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5432
Abstract
There are several industrial processes in which heavy metals are used, including but not limited to chrome plating and tanning. Amongst the most toxic heavy metals to human health are arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, copper, nickel, and mercury. The aforementioned toxic metals possess [...] Read more.
There are several industrial processes in which heavy metals are used, including but not limited to chrome plating and tanning. Amongst the most toxic heavy metals to human health are arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, copper, nickel, and mercury. The aforementioned toxic metals possess the ability to cause contamination upon their release into the environment. Humans and aquatic and terrestrial animals are at risk from heavy metals in water and soil. Heavy metal toxicity has the potential to result in several health complications, such as renal and hepatic impairment, dermatological afflictions, cognitive lethargy, and potentially oncogenic manifestations. The removal of heavy metals from wastewater and soil can be accomplished using a variety of conventional methods, such as membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, chemical reduction, and adsorption. These methods have several disadvantages, such as generating an abundance of secondary pollutants, and entail significantly higher costs in comparison to biological methods. Conversely, eco-friendly techniques based on microbes have numerous advantages. This review provides a comprehensive overview of biological processes that remove heavy metal ions, both metabolically dependent and metabolically independent. Additionally, we also focused on the source and toxicity of these heavy metals. This study is expected to be particularly beneficial for the development of biological heavy metal treatment systems for soil and water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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16 pages, 2909 KiB  
Review
Arsenic: A Review on a Great Health Issue Worldwide
by Giuseppe Genchi, Graziantonio Lauria, Alessia Catalano, Alessia Carocci and Maria Stefania Sinicropi
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(12), 6184; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12126184 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 44 | Viewed by 4885
Abstract
Arsenic intoxication represents a worldwide health problem and occurs mainly through drinking water. Arsenic, a metalloid and naturally occurring element, is one of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust, whose toxicity depends on the reduction state. The trivalent arsenicals are more [...] Read more.
Arsenic intoxication represents a worldwide health problem and occurs mainly through drinking water. Arsenic, a metalloid and naturally occurring element, is one of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust, whose toxicity depends on the reduction state. The trivalent arsenicals are more toxic than the pentavalent arsenicals. In the trivalent state, inorganic and organic arsenic may react with thiol groups in proteins inhibiting their activity, whereas inorganic arsenic in the pentavalent state may replace phosphate ions in several reactions. Arsenic induces various epigenetic changes in mammalian cells, both in vivo and in vitro, often leading to the development of various types of cancers, including skin, lung, liver, urinary tract, prostate, and hematopoietic cancers. Potential mechanisms of arsenic toxicity in cancer include genotoxicity, altered DNA methylation and cell proliferation, co-carcinogenesis, tumor promotion, and oxidative stress. On the other hand, the FDA-certified drug arsenic trioxide provides solutions for various diseases, including several types of cancers. Detoxification from arsenic includes chelation therapy. Recently, investigations of the capability of some plants, such as Eucalyptus camadulensis L., Terminalia arjuna L. and Salix tetrasperma L., to remove arsenic from polluted soil and water have been studied. Moreover, nanophytoremediation is a green technology including the nanoscale materials used for absorption and degradation of organic and inorganic pollutants, such as arsenic compounds. This brief review represents an overview of arsenic uses, toxicity, epigenetics, and detoxification therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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15 pages, 533 KiB  
Review
Thallium Use, Toxicity, and Detoxification Therapy: An Overview
by Giuseppe Genchi, Alessia Carocci, Graziantonio Lauria, Maria Stefania Sinicropi and Alessia Catalano
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(18), 8322; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11188322 - 8 Sep 2021
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 11855
Abstract
Thallium (Tl) is released into the environment, where is present at very low levels, from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Tl is considered as one of the most toxic heavy metals; it is a non-essential metal, present in low concentrations in humans. Tl [...] Read more.
Thallium (Tl) is released into the environment, where is present at very low levels, from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Tl is considered as one of the most toxic heavy metals; it is a non-essential metal, present in low concentrations in humans. Tl toxicity causes dermatological and gastrointestinal diseases and disorders of the nervous system, and may even result in death. Many isotopes of Tl exist, with different uses. One of the isotopes of this metal (201Tl) is used in cardiovascular scintigraphy and for the diagnosis of malignant tumors such as breast or lung cancer and osteosarcoma bone cancer. Many Tl compounds are tasteless, colorless, and odorless. Due to these characteristics and their high toxicity, they have been used as poisons in suicides and murders for criminal purposes, as well as instances of accidental poisoning. Impaired glutathione metabolism, oxidative stress, and disruption of potassium-regulated homeostasis may play a role in the mechanism of Tl toxicity. Solanum nigrum L. and Callitriche cophocarpa have been suggested as promising agents for the phytoremediation of Tl. In addition, macrocyclic compounds such as crown ethers (18-crown-6) are good candidates to absorb Tl from wastewater. Through this review, we present an update to general information about the uses and toxicity of Tl. Furthermore, the attention is focused on detoxification therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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20 pages, 1200 KiB  
Review
The Double Face of Metals: The Intriguing Case of Chromium
by Giuseppe Genchi, Graziantonio Lauria, Alessia Catalano, Alessia Carocci and Maria Stefania Sinicropi
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11020638 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 50 | Viewed by 6245
Abstract
Chromium (Cr) is a common element in the Earth’s crust. It may exist in different oxidation states, Cr(0), Cr(III) and Cr(VI), with Cr(III) and Cr(VI) being relatively stable and largely predominant. Chromium’s peculiarity is that its behavior relies on its valence state. Cr(III) [...] Read more.
Chromium (Cr) is a common element in the Earth’s crust. It may exist in different oxidation states, Cr(0), Cr(III) and Cr(VI), with Cr(III) and Cr(VI) being relatively stable and largely predominant. Chromium’s peculiarity is that its behavior relies on its valence state. Cr(III) is a trace element in humans and plays a major role in glucose and fat metabolism. The beneficial effects of Cr(III) in obesity and types 2 diabetes are known. It has been long considered an essential element, but now it has been reclassified as a nutritional supplement. On the other hand, Cr(VI) is a human carcinogen and exposure to it occurs both in occupational and environmental contexts. It induces also epigenetic effects on DNA, histone tails and microRNA; its toxicity seems to be related to its higher mobility in soil and swifter penetration through cell membranes than Cr(III). The microorganisms Acinetobacter sp. Cr1 and Pseudomonas sp. Cr13 have been suggested as a promising agent for bioremediation of Cr(VI). This review intends to underline the important role of Cr(III) for human health and the dangerousness of Cr(VI) as a toxic element. The dual and opposing roles of this metal make it particularly interesting. An overview of the recent literature is reported in support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Toxicity: Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment)
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