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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Better Method for Evaluating Heavy Metal Water Pollution


High concentrations of heavy metals, and even trace amounts of some, can be harmful to both plants and animals. The toxicity of heavy metal contamination, however, is highly dependent on the chemical form of the metal in question. Metals that are bound in particles or to organic (carbon-containing) compounds are less toxic than dissolved free ions, less toxic meaning that the metals are less readily available for uptake by marine organisms.

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