Metals are lustrous minerals that conduct heat and electricity to some degree. Other minerals are classified as non-metals or metalloids. Both classes are non-conductive or less conductive than true metals. Metals have been crucially important to the development of human society. The earliest European timelines are the bronze age and iron age, with every age following made possible by the advancement of metallurgy. It was first the strength of metals that allowed for stronger tools and weapons, then the conductivity that allowed the transmission of energy.

The main difference between metals and heavy metals is their atomic weight. Heavy metals are more dense and have higher atomic numbers as well. Example heavy metals are iron, gold, copper, and tin along with lead, mercury, uranium, and zinc. Confusingly, not all heavy metals are “metals,” some are metalloids. It is the relatively high density and ability to bioaccumulate that makes a metal or metalloid a heavy metal instead of their metallic properties.

Heavy metals are especially toxic compared to normal metals. While heavy metals may be especially important for their properties and density, those aspects make them particularly detrimental when present in the environment or ingested. In living organisms, heavy metals can have a wide range of effects from decreased mental function, to kidney, liver, and lung damage. Small amounts of heavy metals are important to have in a healthy diet; It is the buildup of heavy metals in tissue that causes damage. Metals and heavy metals are found naturally in foods, whether plants absorb them, or fish swim in water with them. This process is called bioaccumulation. The difference between metals and heavy metals is that heavy metals bioaccumulate more easily, meaning that they can reach higher concentrations at which they are toxic more easily.

No matter how you classify them, IX Water’s MetalClear media removes all types of metals, even the more dangerous from wastewater generated by industrial processes, or in water directly from the earth.