Iron: biological information
Iron compounds are essential to all life. For example, it is an iron atom in haemoglobin that is responsible for carrying oxygen around the blood stream.
Levels in humans
- Human abundance by weight: 60000 ppb by weight
- Human abundance by atoms: 6700 atoms relative to C = 1000000
How much iron is in your body? Find out here.
You can use this form to calculate how much iron your body contains. Enter your weight in either kilograms or pounds and click the "Calculate" button. You must enter a number, not text! Elements for which there are no data will always give a value of zero for the weight, no matter what you put in the weight box.
Hazards and Risks
Hazards and risks associated with iron:
Iron metal powder is a fire hazard. Unless known otherwise, all iron compounds should be regarded as toxic. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia. Excess iron in the body causes liver and kidney damage (haemochromatosis). Some iron compounds are suspected carcinogens.
- J.E. Huheey, E.A. Keiter, and R.L. Keiter in Inorganic Chemistry : Principles of Structure and Reactivity, 4th edition, HarperCollins, New York, USA, 1993.
- S. Budavari (Ed.) in The Merck Index, 11th ed., Merck, USA, 1989.
- N.N. Greenwood and A. Earnshaw in Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth, UK, 1997.