Document Type

Review Article


Cardiology; Office of the Provost


A growing body of research has begun to link exposure to environmental contaminants, such as heavy metals, with a variety of negative health outcomes. In this paper, we sought to review the current research describing the impact of certain common contaminant metals on cardiovascular (CV) health. We reviewed ten metals: lead, barium, nickel, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, selenium, zinc, and copper. After a literature review, we briefly summarized the routes of environmental exposure, pathophysiological mechanisms, CV health impacts, and exposure prevention and/or mitigation strategies for each metal. The resulting article discloses a broad spectrum of pathological significance, from relatively benign substances with little to no described effects on CV health, such as chromium and selenium, to substances with a wide-ranging and relatively severe spectrum of CV pathologies, such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead. It is our hope that this article will provide clinicians with a practical overview of the impact of these common environmental contaminants on CV health as well as highlight areas that require further investigation to better understand how these metals impact the incidence and progression of CV diseases.


Pagination is not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.