Metals are an important and essential part of our daily lives. Their ubiquitous presence and use has not been without significant consequences. Both industrial and nonindustrial exposures to metals are characterized by a variety of acute and chronic ailments. Underreporting of illnesses related to occupational and environmental exposures to chemicals including metals is of concern and presents a serious challenge. Many primary care workers rarely consider occupational and environmental exposures to chemicals in their clinical evaluation. Their knowledge and training in the evaluation of health problems related to such exposures is inadequate. This paper presents documented research findings from various studies that have examined the relationship between metal exposures and their adverse health effects both in developing and developed countries. Further, it provides some guidance on essential elements of a basic occupational and environmental evaluation to health care workers in primary care situations.
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