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Transition Metal Ions

Characteristics and applications of Transition Metals

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Not Just A Band

Not Just a Band

Credit: Unknown
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Verjnuarmu_at_Tuska_2006.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The “heavy metal” seen in the image above will never be found in a periodic table. Heavy metal music is characterized by heavy amplification and distortion, long guitar solos, and an emphasis on an aggressive, machismo lifestyle.

News You Can Use

  • Heavy metal poisoning is a serious health hazard in many parts of the world. Many of the transition elements can be toxic either in the elemental form or the ionic form. A quick scan of the periodic table will list over a dozen transition metals than can give rise to serious health conditions. The metals that are most frequently seen in toxic cases are lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.
  • Some of the transition metals are essential in small amounts. Metals such as copper, iron, zinc, and manganese are involved as components of different biochemical processes. However, if these materials are present in high enough concentrations, they cease to benefit the organism, but rather begin to produce damage.
  • Sources of heavy metal contamination will vary from one metal to the next. There may be environmental contamination from mining or any industry involved in the production or fabrication of these metals. In older homes, lead is a serious contaminant since many paints once contain large amounts of lead compounds. Mercury compounds are found in many food supplies worldwide. Most of the mercury appears to come from atmospheric contamination as a result of burning coal and other fuels that contain large amounts of mercury.
  • Credit: Gideon
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/malias/375664720/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    The consumption of fish is a leading cause of mercury poisoning [Figure2]


  • Watch a video of heavy metal testing at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN7w8ipMUPc

Show What You Know

Use the links below to learn more about heavy metal toxicity. The answer the following questions.

  1. What heavy metals have no known benefits for human physiology?
  2. What are some symptoms of lead poisoning in children?
  3. What is a normal blood level for mercury?
  4. What is chelation therapy?
  5. How effective is chelation therapy?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Unknown; Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Verjnuarmu_at_Tuska_2006.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Gideon; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/malias/375664720/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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