A short review on the treatment of heavy metal toxicity

Treatment for Mercury toxicity:

  • Treatment consists of introducing in the stomach, a source of sulfhydryl rich protein such as milk or raw eggs.
  • As soon as mercury intoxication is suspected intramuscular injection of dimercaprol or penicillamine is given to chelate the mercury and accelerate its excretion.
  • In the absence of the metal chelating agents, isotonic NaCl solution is infused in amounts as much as 10 its per day to produce a copious dieresis so as to protect the kidney from a high concentration of Hg.

Treatment for Lead toxicity:

  • Lead poisoning can be cured by treatment with the chelating agent which strongly bind Pb2+. Thus Ca-chelate in solution is fed to the victim of Pb poisoning. Pb2+ displaces Ca2+ from the chelate and the resulting Pb – chelate is repeatedly excreted in the urine.
  • Higher levels of lead poisoning are reduced with chelation therapy. A combination of intra muscular dimercaprol and calcium disodium edentate is used, sometimes followed by a course of oral penicillamine for long-term prophylactic chelation. In treating of acute poisoning by alkyl lead compounds, sedative, anti-convulsion, fluid and electrolyte therapy may be required.

 Treatment for Arsenic toxicity:

  • Acute Arsenic poisoning has treated the antidote, dimercaprol. Restoration of fluid and electrolyte balance is mandatory.
  • The alternative sources such as sand filters, infiltration galleries, or ranney wells, and in some place even rainwater harvesting can be adopted to alleviate the arsenic disaster.
  • Coagulants such as the salt of aluminum and iron should be used to remove the arsenic from domestic drinking water.

Treatment for Cadmium toxicity:

  • Standard chelation therapy using calcium disodium ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA).
  • Standard chelation therapy using British anti-Lewisite (BAL or dimercaprol).

** This article was posted by
Md. Jahangir Alam
M.Sc. Student
Department of Chemistry
RU

January 2023
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