Category Archives: Heavy metals / trace elements

Environment and biological, Trace metals and heavy metals, trace elements in environmental samples, trace metals in biological materials.
Queensland focus.

Probiotics protect children and pregnant women against heavy metal poisoning

(American Society for Microbiology 7 October 2014) Yogurt containing probiotic bacteria successfully protected children and pregnant women against heavy metal exposure in a recent study. Working with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Canadian and Tanzanian researchers created and distributed a special yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria and observed the outcomes against a control group. The work is published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Read EurekAlert Summary

Request the source article from Information & Research Services (QH Staff only)

Very low concentrations of heavy metals and antibiotics contribute to resistance

(Uppsala University 7 October 2014) New Swedish research shows that plasmids containing genes that confer resistance to antibiotics can be enriched by very low concentrations of antibiotics and heavy metals. These results strengthen the suspicion that the antibiotic residues and heavy metals, such as arsenic, silver and copper, that are spread in the environment are contributing to the problems of resistance. These findings have now been published in the highly regarded journal mBio.

Read EurekAlert Summary

View full-text open-access article

Toxins from plastic pollution impacting health of seabirds, scientists say

ABC News Lucy Marks 26 September 2014

Plastic pollution is having a greater impact on seabirds than previously thought, scientists say.  Plastics are highly absorbent of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic, which render the plastic highly toxic.

Nuclear scientific methods used enable researchers to trace the plastic back to the producer.  This forensic method has the potential to hold the producer and the consumer accountable for the pollution.

Read more

Smugglers go unpunished over ‘tsunami’ of toxic electronic waste

Sydney Morning Herald Beau Donelly 25 September 2014

Authorities have failed to prosecute smugglers secretly shipping e-waste out of Australia, despite seizing more than 20 illegal shipping containers of electronic junk destined for some of the world’s poorest countries in the past five years.

West Africa and Asia have already been singled out as hot spots for e-waste, which contains toxic chemicals including lead, mercury and cadmium that leach into the soil and contaminate the air.

Read more

Blackened water just won’t wash

Townsville Bulletin 12 September 2014

IT looks like water in a third world country – but this is Georgetown, a small township just 480km west of Townsville.   Photographs, tabled in parliament, show a child bathing in the dirty liquid, which locals say is destroying clothes and linens. The water supply was chlorinated about a decade ago after pathogens built up, but that chlorine was now oxidising minerals and turning the water brown.

Read more

Lead and cadmium found in some chocolate bought in Brazil

(American Chemical Society 3 September 2014) Scientists have found that commercial samples of chocolate purchased in Brazil contain varying levels of lead and cadmium, which can cause health problems, and that those levels are linked to how much cocoa a product contains. They reported their findings, which could have health implications — particularly for children — in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Read EurekAlert Summary

Request the source article from Information & Research Services (QH Staff only)

Rooting out skin creams that contain toxic mercury

(American Chemical Society 13 August 2014) As most countries try to rid themselves of mercury pollution, some people are massaging creams containing the metal directly onto their skin to lighten it, putting themselves and others at risk for serious health problems. To find those most at risk, scientists are reporting today that they can now identify these creams and intervene much faster than before. They’re speaking at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Read EurekAlert Summary