Heavy Metal Pollution Research Paper

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INTRODUCTION Heavy metal pollution is one of the major problem facing the environmentalist today. The effect heavy metal toxicity on humans cannot be over-emphasized as they are known to affect most vital organs in the body. Heavy metals are some of the component that contribute to the contamination of the environment (air, water, soil, plants etc.). These heavy metals for example lead and zinc have been known to cause a lot of health problems ranging from hematological to neurological problems. Lead can be hazardous to the body in trace quantity because it can affect virtually all the organ in the body. It induces both microcytic and hypochromic anemia. According to Zenz (1988), the anemia could be due to several factors, which includes (a)…show more content…
Lead and zinc accumulation in soils and plants is of increasing concern because of the potential human health risks associated with it. Heavy metals are not biodegradable but are transferable, at some levels they become toxic and tend to accumulate along the food chain, where man is the last link (Dudka and Miller, 1999; Amir et al. 2005). There are many sources of heavy metal exposure to humans. Plants have the ability to absorb nutrients and micro-nutrients from the soil through their roots and transport them to other parts of the plants. Through these processes, heavy metals can also be absorbed from the soil and water environment into the plant. The increase in metal uptake by food crops grown on contaminated soils affects the food quality and safety of consuming such crop (Muchuweti et al. 2006). The rate by which these heavy metals enter plants could be assessed by calculating the transfer factor (TF) and the bioaccumulation factor (BAF). The efficiency of different plants in absorbing metals is evaluated by either plant uptake or soil-to-plant transfer factors of the metals (Rattan et al. 2005). The transfer factor tends to evaluate the ratio of the metal concentration on plants to its concentration in soil while bioaccumulation factor tends to evaluate the ratio of the metal concentration in plants to its concentration in water. Some of the factors that could affect the TF and BAF include: the chemical form of the metals, age of plants, soil texture and so on (Basta et al. 2005; Vousta et al. 1996). Vegetables are important part of human's diet, they are also source of important nutrient and functional food components (by

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