Chemicals & Human Health

Kidneys and Metals Problem Set

Problem 5: Types of metal toxicity


One of the ways that lead makes people sick is by interfering with the protein that helps make hemoglobin. The result is an anemic like condition where your blood can't carry enough oxygen to keep you healthy. This is an example of what mechanism of metal toxicity?

A. enzyme inhibition
Many metals exert their toxic effects by interfering with enzymatic reactions in the body cells. Enzymatic reactions in the body are chemical reactions that are made possible by special proteins called enzymes. For example, hemoglobin is manufactured by a complex series of enzymatic reactions. Five of the enzymes involved in hemoglobin synthesis do not work very well at all in the presence of lead; that is, they are "inhibited" by lead. This can lead to anemia, which is a reduction in the number of red blood cells.
B. carcinogenicity
C. disruption of subcellular organelles
D. corrosion

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kidneys and metals problem set Chemicals and Human Health vocabulary the biology project

The Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center
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Monday, February 22, 1999
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