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According to some animal and human studies, these chemical compounds, under certain conditions, present risks to and have adverse effects on human health (Jarup 2003; Lison 2015; Tsuji et al. 2015). The main health problems caused by each contaminant are displayed in Table 4. Most of the elements, such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, chrome, iron, and lead, have a cumulative effect over time and can predispose to long-term diseases (Jarup 2003; Zhitkovich 2011; Willhite et al. 2012; Abdul et al. 2015), and thus any form of ingestion of these elements should be avoided, independently of their concentration. Health problems caused by other elements such as barium, cobalt, sulfur, and strontium are dose-dependent, and their ingestion is only safe in the recommended amounts (Cohen-Solal 2002; Serrato 2008; Lison 2015).

Table 4

Long-term and dose-dependent health problems associated with several elements

ElementMain health problemsReferences
Cumulative effect 
 Al Neurodegenerative diseases; bone and hematopoietic disorders Willhite et al. (2012)  
 As Carcinogenic effect; anemia; skin lesions Abdul et al. (2015), Tsuji et al. (2015)  
 Cd Bone and kidney diseases, especially in more susceptible individuals Nordberg (2009), Satarug et al. (2010)  
 Cr (VI) Carcinogenic effect Zhitkovich (2011), Sun et al. (2015)  
 Fe Risk factor for myocardial infarction; worsening of aging-associated diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders, arteriosclerosis, and diabetes mellitus Salonen et al. (1992), Brewer (2007)  
 Pb hematopoietic disorders, liver and kidney diseases; encephalopathies Jarup (2003)  
Dose-dependent 
 Ba Heat-related problems; possible respiratory, hematologic, renal, hepatic, endocrine, and nervous system disorders Kravchenko et al. (2014)  
 Co Hepatic and renal disorders; pancreas and thyroid dysfunctions Lison (2015)  
 S Affect organism homeostasis; predisposition to diabetes mellitus, rheumatism, arthritis, and osteoporosis Serrato (2008)  
 Sr Bone diseases when associated with renal dysfunction; calcium homeostasis Cohen-Solal (2002)  
ElementMain health problemsReferences
Cumulative effect 
 Al Neurodegenerative diseases; bone and hematopoietic disorders Willhite et al. (2012)  
 As Carcinogenic effect; anemia; skin lesions Abdul et al. (2015), Tsuji et al. (2015)  
 Cd Bone and kidney diseases, especially in more susceptible individuals Nordberg (2009), Satarug et al. (2010)  
 Cr (VI) Carcinogenic effect Zhitkovich (2011), Sun et al. (2015)  
 Fe Risk factor for myocardial infarction; worsening of aging-associated diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders, arteriosclerosis, and diabetes mellitus Salonen et al. (1992), Brewer (2007)  
 Pb hematopoietic disorders, liver and kidney diseases; encephalopathies Jarup (2003)  
Dose-dependent 
 Ba Heat-related problems; possible respiratory, hematologic, renal, hepatic, endocrine, and nervous system disorders Kravchenko et al. (2014)  
 Co Hepatic and renal disorders; pancreas and thyroid dysfunctions Lison (2015)  
 S Affect organism homeostasis; predisposition to diabetes mellitus, rheumatism, arthritis, and osteoporosis Serrato (2008)  
 Sr Bone diseases when associated with renal dysfunction; calcium homeostasis Cohen-Solal (2002)  

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