One of the heavy metals that commonly occur in elevated amounts in natural ecosystems is nickel (Ni). Ni is considered an essential micronutrient for plants, humans, and animals. It can exist in trace amounts in air, food, drinking water, and soils. Although Ni plays an important role in the metabolism of humans and animals, its intake in excesssive amounts or over a prolonged period could pose health ricsks. Studies have shown that children living in polluted areas have hypertrophy of tonsils, enlarged lymphatic nodes, and enlarged livers. There is also evidence that soluble Ni particulate is linked to acute lung injury.
Susaya JP, KH Kim, VB Asio, ZS Chen, and IA Navarrete. 2009. Quantifying nickel in soils and plants in the ultramafic area in Philippines. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (now available online at http://www.springer.com/environment/environmental+toxicology/journal/10661)