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This article is the author’s final published version in European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, Volume 26, Issue 24, December 2022, Pages 9275 - 9310.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2022 Verduci Editore s.r.l. All rights reserved.


Modern industrial agricultural processes expose human beings to multifactorial environmental pollution including heightened levels of heavy metals. The effects of acute heavy metal exposures at toxic levels are usually known; they are tested for and treated promptly. The effects of low/moderate-level chronic heavy metal exposures are less known as they may be subclinical, and pathogenic effects may only manifest clinically over time under the disguise of a diagnosable disease or miscellaneous symptoms attributed to aging. Consequently, the health impact of low-moderate heavy metal exposure is unlikely to be identified. Furthermore, established heavy metal safety levels often fail to recognize the potential toxic effects on humans. We report in this review what is known about the sub-chronic and chronic effects of exposure to heavy metals, particularly lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and nickel, and we highlight their possible effects in the brain, cardiovascular and endocrine-metabolic systems, and on reproduction.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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