Clinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Metals are ubiquitous. Exposure to metals has been associated with producing acute and chronic effects on the human nervous system ranging from disabling neuropathies to life-threatening encephalopathies. Many metals produce constellations of symptoms that strongly resemble those of idiopathic neurodegenerative diseases. Metals have been hypothesized as an etiology of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, ans amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Understanding the mechanisms of action of metals commonly encountered in the workplace and environment is essential for clinicians interested in preventing and treating their neurotoxic effects. This article deals with four frequently encountered metals: arsenic, lead, manganese, and mercury.