heavy metal

Quick Reference

A metal with a high relative atomic mass. The term is usually applied to common transition metals, such as copper, lead, and zinc. These metals are a cause of environmental pollution (heavy-metal pollution) from a number of sources, including lead in petrol, industrial effluents, and leaching of metal ions from the soil into lakes and rivers by acid rain.

Subjects: Chemistry.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »