Toxic Tungsten


Tungsten was recently classified as an "emerging contaminant" by the US Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency. An article released in the January 19 issue of Chemical and Engineering News said tungsten, used in a range of products from bulbs to bullets, is not as chemically inert and non-toxic as was previoulsy known. Tungsten can dissolve in groundwater under certain environmental conditions. Studies have shown that exposure to this metal can stunt growth in plants, damage the reproductive potential of earthworms and trigger premature deaths in lower life forms. Even though it is less toxic than lead or mercury, its effect on human health requires further assessment, said the researchers.


Down To Earth, February 2009