Heavy metals as risk factors for human diseases – a Bayesian network approach

M. Perrelli, R. Wu, D. J. Liu, R. G. Lucchini, L. Del Bosque-Plata, M. J. Vergare, M. P. Akhter, J. Ott, C. Gragnoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9275-9310
Number of pages36
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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