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Heavy Metals Causing Toxicity in Animals and Fishes

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry, Rewa, INDIA
  • 2College of Fishery Sciences, Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Science University, Jabalpur, MP, INDIA

Res. J. Animal, Veterinary and Fishery Sci., Volume 2, Issue (2), Pages 17-23, February,24 (2014)


The heavy metals chiefly include Pb, Hg, Cd, Cr, Cu, Zn, Mn, Ni, Ag, etc. The heavy metals, viz., As, Cd, Pb and Hg are considered most toxic to humans, animals, fishes and environment. Excessive concentrations of heavy metals are detrimental. They destabilize ecosystems because of their bioaccumulation in organisms, and toxic effects on biota and even death in most living beings. All heavy metals, in spite some of them are essential micronutrients, have their toxic effects on living organisms via metabolic interference and mutagenesis. The bioaccumulation of toxic metals can occur in the body and food chain. So, the toxic metals generally exhibit chronic toxicity. The heavy metals like Pb and Hg have significant toxic effects. The heavy metals are important pollutants for fishes, because these are not eliminated from aquatic systems by natural methods, such as organic pollutants, and are enriched in mineral organic substances. Occurrence of heavy metals differs in fishes, depending on their age, development and other physiological factors. Among animal species, the fishes are inhabitants which can be highly affected by these toxic pollutants. Heavy metals can have toxic effects on different organs. They can enter into water via drainage, atmosphere, soil erosion and all human activities by different ways. As the heavy metals concentrated more in the environment, they enter biogeochemical cycle, leading to toxicity.


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