Arsenic, cadmium, and lead are three non-vital heavy metals that are harmful to the environment, food safety, and the health of both humans and animals whenever present in excessive quantities. Poisonous metals and metalloid soil can be found worldwide. In higher amounts, some may cause neurological and behavioral abnormalities, particularly in children, while others are endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, teratogens, and mutagenic. The prevention, control, and remediation of heavy metal contamination have grown to be a top national priority in light of the real situation with soil pollution in our nation. To eliminate this kind of pollution, a variety of procedures have been used, including chemical, physical, biological, and integrative methods. Using plants and associated soil bacteria, phytoremediation lowers pollutant concentrations or their hazardous effects on the environment. It is a relatively new method that has gained widespread appeal for being an affordable, effective, unique and environment-friendly technique. The distribution of heavy metals in the environment, their sources, and the ecotoxicity they have on the environment are thoroughly explained in this review paper. Some of the procedures for creating heavy metal-free soil by using various soil remediation techniques are also described.
Department of Zoology, Khalsa College Amritsar, Punjab, India 143001
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to ZS
Kaur S, Gupta H and Singh Z (2023) Heavy Metal Remediation: A much-needed Strategy for Removal of Environmental Contaminants. Environ Sci Arch 2(STI-2):45-53.
1. Ahmed OB and Sayqal A (2021) Advances in Heavy Metal Bioremediation: An Overview. Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 2021: 1609149. DOI: 10.1155/2021/1609149.
2. Akabuogu EP, Adeyi AO, Ejiogu IK, et al. (2018) Toxicity and Bioremediation of Heavy Metals Contaminated Ecosystem from Tannery Wastewater: A Review. J Toxicol. 2018:2568038. DOI: 10.1155/2018/2568038.
3. Alengebawy A, Abdelkhalek ST, Qureshi SR, et al. (2021) Heavy Metals and Pesticides Toxicity in Agricultural Soil and Plants: Ecological Risks and Human Health Implications. Toxics 9(3): 42. DOI: 10.3390/toxics9030042.
4. Ali H, Khan E and Ilahi I (2019) Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology of Hazardous Heavy Metals: Environmental Persistence, Toxicity, and Bioaccumulation. Journal of Chemistry 2019:6730305. DOI:10.1155/2019/6730305.
5. Araya M, Olivares M and Pizarro F (2007) Copper in human health. International Journal of Environment and Health 1. DOI: 10.1504/IJENVH.2007.018578
6. Arora V and Khosla B (2021) Conventional and Contemporary Techniques for Removal of Heavy Metals from Soil. Biodegradation Technology of Organic and Inorganic Pollutants DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.98569.
7. Budiawan B, Auerkari E and Achmad R (2010) Effects of Chromium on Human Body. Annual Research & Review in Biology 13:1-8. DOI: 10.9734/ARRB/2017/33462.
8. Celestino A, Sigua G, Alberto R, et al. (2016) Enhancing Cleanup of Heavy Metal Polluted Landfill Soils and Improving Soil Microbial Activity Using Green Technology with Ferrous Sulfate. International Journal of Environmental Protection 6(1):97-103. DOI: 10.5963/IJEP0601009.
9. Chung JY, Yu SD and Hong YS (2014) Environmental source of arsenic exposure. J Prev Med Public Health. 47(5):253-7. DOI: 10.3961/jpmph.14.036.
10. Chiampo F, Raffa C and Shanthakumar S (2021) Remediation of Metal/Metalloid-Polluted Soils: A Short Review. Applied Sciences (Switzerland) 11(9). DOI: 10.3390/app11094134.
11. Chibuike GU and Obiora S (2014) Heavy Metal Polluted Soils: Effect on Plants and Bioremediation Methods. Applied and Environmental Soil Science 2014: 1-12. DOI: 10.1155/2014/752708.
12. Debnath B, Singh WS, and Manna K (2019) Sources and toxicological effects of lead on human health. Indian Journal of Medical Specialities 10:66-71. DOI: 10.4103/INJMS.INJMS_30_18.
13. Dellisanti F, Rossi PL and Valdrè G (2009) Infield remediation of tons of heavy metal-rich waste by Joule heating vitrification. International Journal of Mineral Processing 93:239-245. DOI: 10.1016/j.minpro.2009.09.002.
14. Hejna M, Gottardo D, Baldi A, et al. (2018) Nutritional ecology of heavy metals. Animal. 12(10):2156-2170. DOI: 10.1017/S175173111700355X.
15. Hossain D, Al-Imran A, Begum M, et al. (2020) Environmental Pollution with Heavy Metals: A Public Health Concern. Heavy Metals - Their Environmental Impacts and Mitigation DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.96805.
16. Hurrell R, Kelishadi R and Abbaspour N (2014) Review on iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 19(2):164-74.
17. Hussain A, Rizwan M, Akbar Z, et al. (2017) Role of Zinc in Alleviating Heavy Metal Stress. Essential Plant Nutrients: Uptake, Use Efficiency, and Management. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-58841-4_14.
18. Jaishankar M, Tseten T, Anbalagan N, et al. (2014) Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdiscip Toxicol. 7(2):60-72. DOI: 10.2478/intox-2014-0009.
19. Jobby R and Desai N (2017) Bioremediation of Heavy Metals. Biodegradation and Bioremediation. Environmental Science and Engineering 8:201-220.
20. Joseph B, Raj J, Edwin B, et al. (2011) Toxic effect of heavy metals on aquatic environment. International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences 4(4). DOI: 10.4314/ijbcs.v4i4.62976.
21. Kapahi M and Sachdeva S (2019) Bioremediation Options for Heavy Metal Pollution. J Health Pollut. 9(24):191203. DOI: 10.5696/2156-9614-9.24.191203.
22. Kentouri M, Tsatsakis AM, Sfakianakis DG, et al (2015) Effect of heavy metals on fish larvae deformities: A review. Environ Res. 137:246-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.12.014.
23. Khayatzadeh J and Abbasi E (2010) The Effects of Heavy Metals on Aquatic Animals. The 1st International Applied Geological Congress 26-28.
24. Kumar V, Singh J, and Kumar P (2019) Heavy metals accumulation in crop plants: Sources, response mechanisms, stress tolerance, and their effects. In: Contaminants in Agriculture and Environment: Health Risks and Remediation 4:38-57. DOI: 10.26832/AESA-2019-CAE-0161-04.
25. Limmer M and Burken J (2016) Phytovolatilization of Organic Contaminants. Environ. Sci. Technol. 50:6632-6643. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b04113.
26. Mekuto L, Okereafor U, Makhatha M, et al. (2020) Toxic Metal Implications on Agricultural Soils, Plants, Animals, Aquatic life and Human Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health 17(7):2204. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17072204
27. Mitra S, Chakraborty A, Tareq A, et al. (2010) Impact of heavy metals on the environment and human health: Novel therapeutic insights to counter the toxicity. Journal of King Saud University – Science 34(3):101865. DOI: 10.1016/j.jksus.2022.101865.
28. Naseri K, Tahergorabi Z, Khazdair MR, et al. (2021) Toxic Mechanisms of Five Heavy Metals: Mercury, Lead, Chromium, Cadmium, and Arsenic. Front Pharmacol. 12:643972. DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2021.643972.
29. Nikhil K and Pichhode M (2016) Effect of Heavy Metals on Plants: An Overview. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.27583.87204.
30. Ottosen L.M. (2014). Electrokinetics in the Removal of Metal Ions from Soils. In: Kreysa, G., Ota, Ki., Savinell, R.F. (eds) Encyclopedia of Applied Electrochemistry. 742-746. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-6996-5_87.
31. Pajević S, Borišev M, Nikolić N, et al. (2016) Phytoextraction of Heavy Metals by Fast-Growing Trees: A Review. Phytoremediation 29-64. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-40148-5_2.
32. Parihar P, Singh R, Singh VP, et al. (2016) Heavy Metal Tolerance in Plants: Role of Transcriptomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics, and Ionomics. Front Plant Sci. 6:1143. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2015.01143.
33. Perusic M, Tomić N, Smiljanić S, et al. (2020) The main sources of heavy metals in the soil and pathways intake. International Congress “Engineering, Environment, and Materials in Processing Industry DOI: 10.7251/EEMEN1901453S.
34. Pratama A, Zulaikhah S and Wahyuwibowo J (2020) Mercury and its effect on human health: a review of the literature. International Journal of Public Health Science (IJPHS) 9:103-114. DOI: 10.11591/ijphs.v9i2.20416.
35. Puvvadi S, Suma B and Prakash B (2015) Electrokinetic removal of heavy metals from the soil. Journal of Electrochemical Science and Engineering 5(1). DOI: 10.5599/jese.2015.0055.
36. Rajasekar A, Selvi A, Rahman P, et al. (2019) Integrated Remediation Processes Toward Heavy Metal Removal/Recovery From Various Environments-A Review. Frontiers in Environmental Science 7. DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00066.
37. Sarker A, Kim JE, Bilal M, et al. (2021) Heavy metals contamination and associated health risks in food webs-a review focuses on food safety and environmental sustainability in Bangladesh. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 29(3): 3230-3245. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-021-17153-7.
38. Sethy SK and Ghosh S (2013) Effect of heavy metals on germination of seeds. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 4(2):272-5. DOI: 10.4103/0976-9668116964.
39. Shackira AM and Puthur JT (2019) Phytostabilization of Heavy Metals: Understanding of Principles and Practices. Plant-Metal Interactions 263-282. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-20732-8_13.
40. Sidhu GPS (2016) Heavy metal toxicity in soils: sources, remediation technologies, and challenges. Adv Plants Agric Res. 2016;5(1):445-446. DOI: 10.15406/apar.2+016.05.00166.
41. Song W, Guo M, Li W, et al. (2018) Remediation techniques for heavy metal-contaminated soils: Principles and applicability. Science of The Total Environment 633:206-219. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.161.
42. Srivastava V, Sarkar A, Araujo A, et al. (2017) Agroecological Responses of Heavy Metal Pollution with Special Emphasis on Soil Health and Plant Performances. Frontiers in Environmental Science 5. DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2017.00064.
43. Suman J, Uhlik O, Viktorova J, et al. (2018) Phytoextraction of Heavy Metals: A Promising Tool for Clean-Up of Polluted Environment. Front Plant Sci. 9:1476. DOI:10.3389/fpls.2018.01476.
44. Sutton DJ, Tchounwou PB, Yedjou CG, et al. (2012) Heavy metal toxicity and the environment. Exp Suppl. 101:133-64. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-7643-8340-4_6.
45. Tarekegn MM, Salilih FZ and Ishetu AI (2020) Microbes used as a tool for bioremediation of heavy metal from the environment. Cogent Food & Agriculture 6.DOI: 10.1080/23311932.2020.1783174.
46. Trifunović V (2021) Vitrification as a method of soil remediation. Zastita materijala 62:166-179. DOI: 10.5937/zasmat2103166T.
47. Vihlborg P, Andersson L, Wahlqvist F, et al. (2020) Dermal and inhalable cobalt exposure-Uptake of cobalt for workers at Swedish hard metal plants. PLoS One. 15(8):e0237100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0237100.
48. Wang Y, Tan SN, Mohd Yusof ML, et al. (2020) Phytoremediation: A Promising Approach for Revegetation of Heavy Metal-Polluted Land. Front Plant Sci. 11:359. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00359.
49. Zhang M, Tsang YF, Kim KH, et al. (2019) Heavy metals in food crops: Health risks, fate, mechanisms, and management. Environ Int. 125:365-385. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.067.
License: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. Visit for more details http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.