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Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:813206. doi: 10.1155/2014/813206. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

Pollution status of Pakistan: a retrospective review on heavy metal contamination of water, soil, and vegetables.

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Department of Chemistry, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad 45320, Pakistan.
Department of Statistics, University of Balochistan, Quetta 87300, Pakistan.
Institute of Biochemistry, University of Balochistan, Quetta 87300, Pakistan.
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan.


Trace heavy metals, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, chromium, nickel, and mercury, are important environmental pollutants, particularly in areas with high anthropogenic pressure. In addition to these metals, copper, manganese, iron, and zinc are also important trace micronutrients. The presence of trace heavy metals in the atmosphere, soil, and water can cause serious problems to all organisms, and the ubiquitous bioavailability of these heavy metal can result in bioaccumulation in the food chain which especially can be highly dangerous to human health. This study reviews the heavy metal contamination in several areas of Pakistan over the past few years, particularly to assess the heavy metal contamination in water (ground water, surface water, and waste water), soil, sediments, particulate matter, and vegetables. The listed contaminations affect the drinking water quality, ecological environment, and food chain. Moreover, the toxicity induced by contaminated water, soil, and vegetables poses serious threat to human health.

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