Table of Contents
ISRN Hypertension
Volume 2013, Article ID 234034, 15 pages
Review Article

The Influence of Arsenic, Lead, and Mercury on the Development of Cardiovascular Diseases

Clinical Metal Toxicologist (IBCMT), Marienstraße 1, 97070 Wuerzburg, Germany

Received 14 October 2012; Accepted 20 November 2012

Academic Editors: A. Pihlanto and H. Teragawa

Copyright © 2013 Peter Jennrich. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As a group, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. It killed twice as many people as infectious and parasitic disease and three times as many people as all forms of cancer. There are other crucial risk factors next to the major risk factors identified by the Framingham Heart Study. In the last few years, detailed studies showed the correlation between environmental pollution and the development of CVD. The question, which environmental toxin is particularly harmful, is answered by CERCLA Priority List of Hazardous Substances with the following toxins: arsenic, lead, and mercury. The effect of these potential toxic metals on the development of cardiovascular diseases includes pathomechanisms as the accumulation of free radicals, damage of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, lipid peroxidation, and endocrine influences. This leads to the damage of vascular endothelium, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and an increased mortality from cardiovascular diseases. The cardiovascular effects of arsenic, lead, and mercury exposure and its impact on cardiovascular mortality need to be included in the diagnosis and the treatment of CVD.