Wednesday, April 11, 2012

As the Spring weather is upon us industrial shops are tempted to throw open their overhead doors and vent industrial fumes, dusts, and other pollutants to the outdoors. Bhalchandra Gokhale* in MoneyLife Magazine reminds us that 25 of the approximate 60 elements found in our bodies are proven to be toxic at varying levels. Excessive build up of metals in the body is referred to as "Heavy Metal Toxicity". Aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and thallium are some of the common metals found in the body. It has been noted that some metals are more hazardous when they occur together, commonly known as 'synergistic toxicity'. While most people naturally excrete toxic metals; others are not able to rid themselves of these metals, usually due to genetics.

Polluted air and contaminated food and water are just two of the ways that metals most commonly enter the human body. Air is polluted when particulate metals enter the air via fumes from industrial applications like welding, soldering, smelting etc. Water and food are contaminated as rainwater mixes with these particulates, seeps into the soil and then mixes with groundwater.

As manufacturing expands in what looks like the beginning of a recovery for U.S. industries, we need to be watchful and demand that our air be protected.

Bhalchandra Gokhale

*The author is a BTech and MTech (IIT Powai) and works with a team of doctors.

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