Geochemical and Biological Enrichments with Toxic Metals; Anthropogenic Effects
Received Date: Nov 23, 2016 / Accepted Date: Nov 28, 2016 / Published Date: Nov 30, 2016
Historical and scientific data suggest that neurotoxins may have affected human health and consequently the history of Renaissance Europe. During the Anthropocene, the epoch we now live in, huge quantities of neurotoxins such as mercury, lead and manganese are added to the biosphere. Here we searched for proxies in biological materials such as plants and animal products for anthropogenic enrichment with such toxins. To put our results into geological perspective we also searched for such toxins in ancient materials dated to pre-human occupation of the earth. We examined the metal content in putative proxies for enrichment in fossil plants from the early Paleocene (~64 million years old) in New Mexico and from present-day New Mexico and compared this to similar proxies from Peru, a country with a rich mining history, which continues to this day, where neurotoxins ravaged pre-Hispanic settlers and affects present-day miners. We found proxies for metals in the plants and other biological materials. Sixty four million year old plant samples found in New Mexico contained more neurotoxins such as mercury, lead and manganese than samples from present-day New Mexico. Contemporaneous samples from Lima, Peru, had even more neurotoxins than the pre-human samples. Despite such geochemical and human enrichments the stability of systems over geological times was not affected by neurotoxin additions to the biosphere. Though intoxications have been well-documented in historical personages and in contemporaneous epidemics of poisoning, our findings imply that the addition of neurotoxins to the biosphere over geological time periods has, as yet, no discernible influence on human health.
Keywords: Neurotoxins; Human health; Proxies plants biologic materials; Peru mining; New Mexico plant fossils; Statistical modeling; Tipping points; Neurotoxins renaissance Europe; Epidemics of poisoning
Citation: Qualls C, Ali AM, Lucas SG, Lombardi G, Appenzeller O (2016) Geochemical and Biological Enrichments with Toxic Metals; Anthropogenic Effects. J Environ Anal Toxicol 6: 419. Doi: 10.4172/2161-0525.1000419
Copyright: © 2016 Qualls C, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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