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Heavy metal pollution in drinking water - a global risk for human health: A review

F Fernández-Luqueño
F López-Valdez
P Gamero-Melo
S Luna-Suárez
EN Aguilera-González
AI Martínez
MDS García-Guillermo
G Hernández-Martínez
R Herrera-Mendoza
MA Álvarez-Garza
IR Pérez-Velázquez


Water resources in the world have been profoundly influenced over the last years by human activities, whereby the world is currently facing critical water supply and drinking water quality problems. In many parts of the world heavy metal (HM) concentrations in drinking water are higher than some international guideline values. Discussing about the HM pollution in drinking water, the incorporation of them into the food chain, and their implications as a global risk for the human health, are the objectives of this review. It is known that there are million people with chronic HM poisoning which has become a worldwide public health issue, while 1.6 million children die each year from diseases for which contaminated drinking water is a leading cause. There is also evidence of HM in drinking water that are responsible for causing adverse effect on human health through food chain contamination. A global effort to offering affordable and healthy drinking water most to be launched throughout the world, while various laws and regulations to protect and improve the utilization of drinking water resources should be updated or created throughout the world, including the low income countries; otherwise, the problem of HM-polluted drinking water will be growing because demand for drinking water is still growing such as this problem will become even more pressing in the future. Finally, notwithstanding, additional researches are necessaries about the correlation between HM concentration in drinking water and human diseases, while the development of robust, cheap and sustainable technologies to improve the drinking water quality is necessary.

Key words: Groundwater, aquifer, water quality, water pollution, microorganism, water supply, microbial communities, food chain, disease.