In certain amount, heavy metal needed by human body

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Illustration of a heavy metal test in the body. (Source: go.care)

Human interaction with the environment is a natural process as humans need the capacity of environmental elements for their survival. However, this process of human interaction with the environment does not always benefit. The reciprocal relationship between human activities and their environment sometimes benefit humans (eugenics), and some are detrimental to humans (dysgenic).

Adverse factors of human interaction with the environment can provide toxicological effects. Chemical interactions can occur through mechanisms such as absorption, protein binding and biotransformation. The risk of possible chemicals causing poisoning, depends on the amount of dose that enters the body. The greater the exposure to chemicals, the greater the risk of poisoning.

In certain amount, some chemicals are needed for the body to exist, but an excessive amount can cause toxic effects, some others are even very toxic, even in low concentrations. Heavy metals are chemicals that are one of the environmental pollutants, and some of these metal elements are the most dangerous metals.

Pollution of heavy metals to the environment is a process closely related to the use of these materials by humans. Environmental pollution by heavy metals can occur if the industries do not pay attention to environmental safety, especially when disposing of their waste. Certain metals in high concentrations will be very dangerous in the environment (water, soil, and air).

The main source of heavy metal contamination is actually from air and water that pollutes the soil. Furthermore, all plants growing on polluted soil will accumulate these metals in all parts (roots, stems, leaves and fruit).

Among the heavy metal pollutants, some are used in casting alloys like Chromium (Cr), Ni (Nickel), and Co (Cobalt). Metal alloy casting used extensively in prosthetic material in some dental applications, such as removable partial dentures, porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations, resin-bonded bridges, cast removable partial denture frameworks, crowns, and surgical implants. However, in line with the benefits, during the process of manufacturing dental prosthetics, exposure to metal alloys, coupled with inaccurate working and protective conditions for workers, pose a risk of exposures for workers.

These metals have a high affinity with sulfur. These metals attack sulfide bonds in important molecules of cells such as proteins (enzymes), so enzymes do not work. Heavy metal ions can be bound to important cell membrane molecules that disrupt the transport process through the cell membrane.

The main pathway for toxic substances to enter the human body is through the digestive tract or gastrointestinal (ingestion), lungs (inhalation), skin (topical), and other parental pathways (other than intestinal). Toxic effects of chemicals can damage cells, which cause mutations in the cancer cells, and if the damage is severe, it can cause cell death.

Cells are the lowest level of structure capable of carrying out all life activities. Exposure to heavy metal alloys during the manufacturing process of prosthetic teeth, is closely related to the formation of free radicals. Free radicals have very reactive properties that can cause further oxidation of the surrounding molecules. Direct or indirect formation in living organisms can induce the production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).

The accumulation of ROS will cause oxidative stress. It will induce an imbalance with the antioxidant defense capacity, which in turn can affect major cell components: fat, protein, carbohydrates and DNA. Free radicals and oxidation products will react with molecular complexes in cells, especially chromosomes, and the chromosome chain becomes broken and the composition of nucleotide bases changes. These changes modify or damage DNA, and affect the genetic information contained therein.

If cells cannot make repairs, there will be disruption of DNA repair and lead to cell death. Enzymes will not be able to recognize DNA molecules and trigger the formation of other cells cannot be controlled by growth or cell mutations leading to malignancy (cancer cells). Detection of DNA damage is usually known to be too late, by then cancer has undergone metastasis.

This research uses new methods for early detection of cancer, by identifying reaction products formed when chemically reactive species interact with DNA. The statistical analysis used comparative test and correlation test. There is a significant relationship in groups as a whole and between each group (p

Author: Titiek Berniyanti

Details of the research available at

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-020-1049-1

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