The Heavy Metal Burden in Ancient Societies
There is no entirely satisfactory definition of what constitutes a ‘heavy metal’ but the group is generally taken to include at least the following: silver (atomic weight 108), cadmium (112), tin (119), antimony (112), platinum (195), gold (197), mercury (201), thallium (204) and lead (207). In their various ways, these metals have all been extremely important in human history because of their technological or commercial value. Four of the group (cadmium, lead, mercury and thallium) are toxic to man and all but thallium might have been encountered in different ways by peoples in antiquity.
KeywordsLead Concentration Lead Exposure Copper Deficiency Past Population Mercury Poisoning
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Notes and references
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