Health risks of heavy metals from long-range transboundary air pollution (2007)



2007, xii + 130 pages
ISBN 978 92 890 7179 6

The heavy metals cadmium, lead and mercury are common air pollutants, emitted mainly as a result of industrial activity. Even low atmospheric levels contribute to build-up in soils, where they persist in the environment and accumulate in the food-chain both on land and in water. Heavy metals are associated to different degrees with a wide range of conditions, including kidney and bone damage, developmental and neurobehavioural disorders, elevated blood pressure and potentially even lung cancer.

This report, based on contributions from an international group of experts, reviews the available information on the sources, chemical properties and spatial distribution of environmental pollution with cadmium, lead and mercury caused by long-range transboundary air pollution, and evaluates the potential health risks in Europe.