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Toxicology and Biological Monitoring of Metals

Toxicology of Specific Groups of Substances

  1. Monica Nordberg PhD1,
  2. Gunnar F. Nordberg MD, PhD2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat145

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Nordberg, M. and Nordberg, G. F. 2009. Toxicology and Biological Monitoring of Metals. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

  2. 2

    Umeå University, Environmental Medicine, Department Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå, Sweden

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


There are 67 elements classified as metals and the present chapter presents a review of the toxicology and evidence for useful biological monitoring of 29 of these elements and their various chemical compounds. Introductory sections of the chapter deals with general aspects of metal toxicology. Emphasis is given to the fundamental importance of speciation of metals. The chemical species is defined as the specific form of an element defined as to isotopic composition, electronic or oxidation state and /or complex or molecular structure. Consideration of specific chemical species is of fundamental importance in toxicology and biological monitoring. Advances in chemical analytical methods has made it possible in recent years to use biological monitoring i.e., repeated measurements of metallic compounds in tissues or biological fluids in order to evaluate occupational or environmental exposures and health risks. For all the elements dealt with in this chapter the importance of chemical species is considered when reviewing the uptake, metabolism and excretion; toxic effects and dose-response relationships; carcinogenicity; genotoxicity as well as biological monitoring. The following metals and their compounds are covered in the present chapter: Aluminium, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Cadmium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Gallium and Semiconductor compounds, Germanium, Indium, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Mercury, Molybdenum, Nickel, Palladium, Platinum, Selenium, Silver, Tellurium, Thallium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten and Zinc.


  • toxicology of metals;
  • biological monitoring;
  • biomarkers;
  • human risk assessment