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EMERGENT LIFE SCIENCES RESEARCH - Vol 4, Issue 2, Published on 31, December 2018

Pages: 31-37
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A review on toxicity and environmental implications of heavy metals

Author: Tabinda Athar, Aisha A. Waris, Madiha Nisar

Category: Mini Review


Heavy metals are metalloids that have high density and weight, at least 5 times greater as compared to water. In recent years, the industrial, agricultural, medicinal and technological activities have led to a sharp rise in heavy metal exposure in our environment. Even a small concentration of heavy metals is capable of inducing toxic effects on humans and on the overall environment. Toxicity may vary depending on the type of heavy metal, the form in which it is available and the type of individual it is exposed to. Among all the heavy metals, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and lead pose highest degree of toxicity and that is of great concern to plants and human health. This issue leads to challenge of environment conservation and protection from heavy metal exposure. This review provides an analysis about the occurrence of these metals in the environment, their toxicity potential in plants, and the plant defense mechanism against them for their survival.

Keywords: defense mechanism in plants, heavy metals, environment, toxicity