COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF HEAVY METAL LOADS IN SOME SELECTED SOFT DRINKS IN OWERRI, IMO STATE
Evaluation of heavy metal content in soft drinks. After analysis shows that soft drinks are not good to be taken frequently as these aids in introducing heavy metals into the system which in turn impairs the absorption of copper and other elements needed in the body. Humans are prone to illness when these heavy metals accumulate in large quantities in the body. Also, it was found that the concentration value of heavy metals [Cu, Pb, Fe] in some selected soft drinks were less than the W.H.O (world health organization) standard value. Finally, heavy metal loads in soft drinks give the overview of how soft drinks can be taken in order to avoid complications like overweight and sickness. Thus, the W.H.O standard value was 0.05, 0.10. 0.80 For Cu, Pb, Fe respectively..
TABLE OF CONTENT
Table of content
1.1 Beneficial heavy metals
1.2 Toxic heavy metals
1.3 Relationship of heavy metals to living organism
1.4 Heavy metal pollution
1.5 Different types of heavy metals
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Effects of soft drinks on the stomach
2.1.1 Weight gain and malnutrition
2.1.2 Acidity in the stomach
2.1.3 Caffeine effects on the stomach
2.1.4 Non-caffeine drinks
2.2 Harmful effects of heavy metal constituents in soft drinks
to human health
2.2.1 Dental amalgam
2.2.2 Dental health
2.2.3 Calcium deficiency
Materials and Method
3.3 Digestion procedure
Results and discussion
4.0 Table showing heavy metal content
Conclusion and Recommendation
A heavy metal is a member of a loosely –defined subset of
elements that exhibit metallic properties which affects human
health. it mainly includes the transition metals, some
metalloids, lanthanides and actinides. Heavy metals are natural
components of the earth crust which cannot be degraded or
destroyed, to some extent they enter our bodies through food,
drinking water, air and some heavy metals which are trace
elements [e.g. selenium, zinc] are essential to maintain the
metabolism of the human body. However at higher
concentrations, they can lead to poisoning which could result
from drinking water contaminated with lead pipes, high
ambient air concentrations near emission sources, or in take
through the food chain, thus being dangerous, tend to
bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation means an increase in the
concentration of a chemical in a biological organism over time,
compared to the chemical concentration in the environment.
Common heavy metals are;
However, heavy metals are chemical elements with a specific
gravity that is at least 5 times the specific gravity of water. The
specific gravity of water is 1 at 4 0 C [39 0 F]. For instance, Arsenic
has 5.7, Cadmium 8.65, Iron 7.9, Lead 11.34, Mercury 13.54
which is 5times to compare to an equal volume [amount] of
water. As such, they are stable elements (meaning that they
cannot be metabolized by the body) and bio-accumulative
(passed up the food chain to humans).
Once liberated into the environment and taken up through food
drinks and inhalation, they accumulate in body tissues faster
than the body’s detoxification pathways can dispose of them, a
gradual buildup of these toxins occurs. For instance, soft drinks
such as wines and grape drinks in Roman Empire have been
contaminated by lead-lined jugs and cooking pots leading to a
“decline and fall” of the Roman Empire and the mad hatter
character in Alice in wonderland was likely modeled after
nineteenth-century hat makers who used mercury to stiffen hat
materials and frequently became psychotic from mercury
toxicity. As discussed, heavy metals occur naturally in the
ecosystem with large variations in concentration, where in
modern times, anthropogenic sources of heavy metals includes
pollution being introduced into the ecosystem by human
1.1 BENEFICIAL HEAVY METALS
In small quantities, certain heavy metals are nutritionally
essential for a heavy life. Some of these are referred to as the
trace elements (e.g. Iron, Copper, Manganese and Zinc). These
elements, or some form of them are commonly found naturally
in foodstuffs, fruits, soft drinks and vegetables and also in
commercially available multivitamin products, other means
include Diagnostic medical applications which include direct
injection of gallium during radiological procedures, dosing with
chromium in parental nutrition mixtures, and the use of lead as a radiation shield around x-ray equipment. Heavy metals are
also common in industrial applications such as in the manufacture of pesticides, batteries, electroplated metals
parts, textiles dyes, steel, etc.
1.2 TOXIC HEAVY METALS
Heavy metals become toxic when they are not metabolized by
the body and accumulate in the soft tissues. Heavy metals may
enter the human body through food, water, air or absorption
through the skin when they come in contact with humans in
agriculture, and in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, industrial or
residential setting. Industrial exposure accounts for a common
route of exposure in adults and ingestion is the common route
of exposure in children which occurs normally from hand to
mouth activity of small children who come in contact with
contaminated soil or by eating objects that are not food (dirt or
1.3 RELATIONSHIP OF HEAVY METALS TO LIVING
Living organisms require varying amount of “heavy metals”.
Irons, Cobalt, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum and Zinc are
required by humans thus excessive levels can be damaging to
the to the organisms. Other heavy metals such as mercury,
plutonium and lead are toxic metals that have no known vital
or beneficial effects on organisms and their accumulation over
time in the bodies of the animals can cause serious illness.
Certain elements that are normally toxic are, for certain
organisms or under certain conditions beneficial. Examples
include vanadium tungsten and even cadmium.
1.4 HEAVY METAL POLLUTION
Heavy metal pollution can arise from many sources. But most
commonly source arises from the purification of metals.
Example; the smelting of copper and the preparation of nuclear
fuels. Electroplating is the primary source of chromium and
cadmium through precipitation of their compounds or by ion
exchange into soils and mud. Heavy metals can localize and lay
dormant. Unlike organic compounds(pollutants), heavy metals
do not decay and thus pose a different kind of challenge for remediation. Currently, plants or micro organisms are tentatively used to remove some heavy metals such as mercury. Plants which exhibit hyper accumulation can be used to remove heavy metals by concentrating them in their bio- matter.
One of the largest problems associated with the persistence of heavy metals is the potential for Bioaccumulation and
Biomagnifications causing heavier exposure for some organisms that is present in the environment alone where coastal fish(such as the smooth toadfish) and seabirds(such as Atlantic puffin) are monitored for the presence of such contaminants/pollutants.
1.5 DIFFERENT TYPES OF HEAVY METALS
This is a chemical element with symbol As , atomic number 33.
it occurs naturally in many minerals usually in conjunction with
sulphur and metals. Aside from occurring naturally in the
environment, arsenic can be released in larger quantities
through volcanic activities, erosion of rocks, forest fires and
human activity. Arsenic is also found in paints, dyes, drugs,
soaps, semiconductors, pesticides, cigarette, table salts,
seafood and fertilizers, and also industrial practices such as
copper or lead smelting, mining and coal burning.
Arsenic can cause cancer of the skin, lungs, liver and
Acute arsenic poisoning causes symptoms such as
convulsion, drowsiness and headaches.
Arsenic ingested in very high level can cause coma and
Low level exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, decrease
in red and white blood cell productions and damage to
Cadmium is a chemical element with symbol CD. It is very
similar to Zinc, thus accumulates in the body by replacing Zinc,
an essential mineral in the liver and kidney.
Toxic levels of cadmium causes anemia, loss of appetite,
high blood pressure, joint soreness, scaly skin, weakening
of system and causing kidney disease.
Lead is one of the most toxic metals known and as a result of
human activities such as fossil fuel burning, mining and
manufacturing, lead compounds are found in all parts of our
environments, they are just like calcium. So pregnant women,
children and other people who are deficient in calcium absorb
lead more easily.
Lead poisoning causes arthritis, chronic fatigue, juvenile
delinquency, learning disabilities, and liver failure.
Chromium is found in rocks, animals, plants and soil which are
either liquid, solid, or gas mainly used in metal alloys such as
steel, electroplating, paints pigments, cements, paper and
High level of chromium can cause irritation to the living of
nose and thus, breathing problems such as cough, asthma,
Chromium causes skin ulcers, damage to liver, kidney
circulatory and nerve tissues.
This is a chemical element with symbol Se. it rarely occur in
elemental state in nature or as pure ore compounds but found
impurely in metal sulphur. It is used in glassmaking and in DC
power surge protectors.
Oral exposure causes selenosis such as hair loss, nail
brittleness and neurological abnormalities.
Also exposures to high levels can result in respiratory
tract irritation, bronchitis and stomach pains.
Mercury is one of the toxic substances we are exposed to on
fairly regular basis. It is found in fungicides, pesticides,
carbonated drinks (juices), dental fillings, contaminated sea
foods, thermometers and host of products such as cosmetics,
inks, tattoo inks, latex medications, paints plastics, solvents
and wood preservative. When inhaled or absorbed by the skin,
it passes through the blood-brain barrier and is attracted to
and absorbed by nerve endings. This neurotoxin lodges inside
neuron cell disrupting cellular communication.
Exposure to high level can permanently damage the brain,
kidney, and also causes autoimmune disorders.
Also mercury causes arthritis, blindness, candidacies,
depression, dizziness, fatigue, hair loss muscle weakness
and menstrual disorder.