Assessment of heavy metal contamination in different vegetables grown in and around urban areas
This study reviewed heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, chromium and mercury as important environmental pollutants, particularly in areas with high anthropogenic pressure. Their presence in the atmosphere, soil and water, even in traces can cause serious problems to all organisms and heavy metal bioaccumulation in the food chain especially can be dangerous to the human health. International and national regulations on food quality have lowered the maximum permissible levels of toxic metals in the food items due to an increased awareness of the risk these metals pose to food chain contamination. Heavy metals are very harmful because of their non-biodegradable nature, long biological half-lives and their potential to accumulate in different body parts. Most of the heavy metals are extremely toxic because of their solubility in water. Even low concentrations of heavy metals have damaging effects to man and animals because there is no good mechanism for their elimination, from the body. Heavy metals are persistent environmental contaminants, which may be deposited on the surfaces and then adsorbed into the tissues of vegetables. Plants take up heavy metals by absorbing them from deposits on the parts of the plants exposed to the air from polluted environment as well as from contaminated soil. In this study the authors have reviewed the problem of heavy metal contamination in different vegetables as per the findings of various researchers in different parts of the world.