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Metal contamination of the environment reflects both natural sources and industrial activity, affecting human health. This Article begins with a discussion on the level of metal exposure resulting in toxicological effects, the factors influencing toxicity of metals, and carcinogenicity of metal compounds. It discusses some commonly used chelating agents for treating metal intoxication, and clinical effectiveness in treating poisoning by different metals. The metals discussed are grouped into four categories: (1) major toxic metals with multiple effects, including arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and nickel; (2) essential metals with potential for toxicity, including cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc; (3) metals with toxicity related to medical therapy, including aluminum, bismuth, gallium, gold, lithium, and platinum; and (4) minor toxic metals, including antimony, barium, indium, magnesium, silver, tellurium, thallium, tin, titanium, uranium, and vanadium. The main factors included in the discussion are their disposition, toxicity, biological factors and treatment.

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Robert A. Goyer, Toxicity of Metals, Properties and Selection: Nonferrous Alloys and Special-Purpose Materials, Vol 2, ASM Handbook, By ASM Handbook Committee, ASM International, 1990, p 1233–1269,

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