Environmental pollution caused by heavy metal use is decreasing

05 June 2018

Article: 52/2207

Environmental pressures caused by heavy metal emissions from Europe’s large industrial facilities have decreased from 2010-2016, according to a new briefing covering data from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR).

The briefing shows that emissions of eight key heavy metals, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc from Europe’s large industrial facilities, show a rapid decline in their associated environmental pressures.

From 2010 to 2016, environmental pressure caused by industrial emissions in air decreased by 39%, while pressures caused by water decreased by 34%.

Reducing concentrations of heavy metals in air, water and soil is important because of the potential harm these substances can cause to people and eco-systems. Harmful effects of heavy metals include disruption of nutrient cycles in plants and causing development and reproduction disorders in animals and humans.

Source: EEA, 25 May 2018