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Ensuring good health and hygiene

We rely on metals in many different ways for maintaining good health.

Essential metals

Plants, animals and humans require a regular intake of small amounts of certain metals, known as ‘essential metals’, to maintain good health. The recommended daily intake of essential metals ranges within certain limits; consumption outside of these ranges, particularly to excessive levels, can be hazardous to health. This is a particularly important issue for those working in metal producing industries and occupational exposure limits must be observed to control potential risks.

Medical hygiene

Metals support medical hygiene. Stainless steel is already widely used for medical equipment and hospital surfaces, as it’s easy to clean and sterilise. More recently, copper-alloy touch surfaces have been deployed to help reduce healthcare-associated infections, such as MRSA, due to their intrinsic antimicrobial properties.

A new lease of life

Titanium and aluminium are essential components of today’s lightweight prosthetic limbs. The application of metals such as platinum and lithium has also led to significant advances in artificial pacemakers, assisting in the stabilising of a patient’s heartbeat.

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