- Explain how the use of fossil fuels results in human exposure to heavy metals, comparing the source, pathway of exposure and impacts of methyl mercury and lead. Include at least 2 references.
There are several fossil fuels which cause several impacts on human beings which are adverse in nature. Methyl Mercury and Lead are the two heavy metals which are considered to be an environmental toxicant and exposure to the same may have terrible impacts to the human body.
- The source of Methyl Mercury is burning the Fossil Fuels mainly Coal. These are the main sources of methyl mercury in nature.
- Lead is found in construction material for building and lead-acid batteries. These are available in the everyday life of human beings and their exposures can be highly dangerous (Doney, 2010).
Pathway of Exposure:
- Methyl Mercury may be exposed to human through the intake of fish like swordfish, tuna, shark, etc. The advent of this metal increases as it moves higher up in the food chain and therefore also has adverse effects on the consumers who are higher up in the Food Chain.
- Lead may be exposed in humans by drinking contaminated water or chewing objects painted with lead based chips.
Impacts: There are several severe impacts which Methyl Mercury and Lead have on human beings with their exposure.
- Long term exposure to Methyl Mercury may result in a risk to the cardiovascular system resulting in Heart Attack in adults. It also causes several developmental issues in children that might lead to mental impairment due to high exposure of the metal in the body (Castoldi, 2003).
- Exposure to Lead may result in affecting the central nervous system in children thereby causing several deformities. Exposure of lead may cause acute anemia, muscle weakness, and brain damage in adults.