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Poisoning due to metals, and their salts 

Poisoning due to metals, and their salts
Poisoning due to metals, and their salts

D Nicholas Bateman

, Robert D Jefferson

, Simon HL Thomas

, John P Thompson

, and J Allister Vale

Page of

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date: 11 August 2020

Exposure to heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic, lead, chromium, cadmium manganese, and mercury is generally associated with their use in industrial processes. Increasingly, however, there is concern about environmental exposure to these compounds, and patients may present having had blood tests measured in non-conventional laboratories suggesting need for treatment. The clinician therefore needs to understand the clinical features of heavy metal poisoning, and the appropriate indication for chelation and which therapies to use for individual metals. For more common heavy metals toxicity is better understood and use of chelating agents as antidotes is well established. For agents such as copper salts and thallium, however, such evidence is less secure. The potential for severe toxicity, particularly from thallium, may result in a need for urgent emergency care. Other compounds included in this chapter are phosphorus and fluoride. There is also a discussion of the industrial illness metal fume fever.

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