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Heavy metals

A heavy metal is any of a number of higher atomic weight elements, which has the properties of a metallic substance at room temperature.

Living organisms require trace amounts of some heavy metals, including cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, strontium, and zinc, but excessive levels can be detrimental to the organism.

Other heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium have no known vital or beneficial effect on organisms, and their accumulation over time in the bodies of mammals can cause serious illness.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Heavy metals", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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