Metal in Environmental Engineering

Heavy metals have been around for thousands of years and are used in various applications worldwide. Although the harmful health effects of heavy metals have been known for a long time, exposure to heavy metals seems to be inevitable in today’s world.

What Environmental Engineers Do

Most of the credit for safe drinking water, breathable air, and farmable soil goes to environmental engineers. They dedicate their lives to protecting the earth and its inhabitants from the adverse environmental effects related to recycling, waste disposal, public health and water, and air pollution control, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Metal Pollutes the Environment

When metals are naturally found in the earth, it’s sometimes difficult to understand how they can pollute the environment. With no surprise, humans are the main cause of heavy metal pollution. Heavy metals become concentrated due to different human activities and sources like vehicle emissions, industrial waste, fertilizer, paint, and treated wood. Heavy metals can introduce themselves as pollutants through plant, animal, and human tissues by inhalation, diet, or physical contact. Some of the most common
metals that are a cause for concern are listed below.


Traces of lead is found in gasoline, tires, lubricating oil, grease, and firearms and lead is also the number one heavy metal contaminant.


Major sources of zinc pollution include tire wear, motor oil, grease, brake emissions, corrosion, and air deposition, which can be found on various different surfaces that come in contact with rainwater like roofs, gutters, fencing, and drainage systems.


Iron is commonly used in automobiles for engine parts as well as the auto body. When these parts begin to rust it contributes to the contamination of heavy metals in the road which gets flushed by rainwater back into the ecosystem.


Aluminum is commonly used in today’s industry. For instance, most auto bodies of cars are composed of aluminum, which contributes to most of the pollution in the world today.


This heavy metal is actually found in cigarettes! Not only is it being inhaled, but it is also being emitted back into the environment. Tires, batteries, and fuel also contain threatening amounts of cadmium.

Exposure to Heavy Metals

The need for environmental engineers is growing as technology progresses and population increases. Finding the source of pollution is another important role that environmental engineers have to perform. Tracking down the source of where the pollution is coming from will help prevention. There are multiple health concerns related to heavy metals, which is why environmental engineers are vital for our health.

What You Can Do for the Environment

The good news is you don’t have to be an environmental engineer to help improve the ongoing effects of pollution. As a family owned and operated business, our team at Tampa Steel & Supply knows the importance of keeping our earth clean. Contact Tampa Steel today to see how we can help you.

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