Science, Tech, Math › Science Heavy Metal Definition and List Share Flipboard Email Print Cordelia Molloy/Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 29, 2018 A heavy metal is a dense metal that is (usually) toxic at low concentrations. Although the phrase "heavy metal" is common, there is no standard definition assigning metals as heavy metals. Characteristics of Heavy Metals Some lighter metals and metalloids are toxic and, thus, are termed heavy metals though some heavy metals, such as gold, typically are not toxic. Most heavy metals have a high atomic number, atomic weight and a specific gravity greater than 5.0 Heavy metals include some metalloids, transition metals, basic metals, lanthanides, and actinides. Although some metals meet certain criteria and not others, most would agree the elements mercury, bismuth, and lead are toxic metals with sufficiently high density. Examples of heavy metals include lead, mercury, cadmium, sometimes chromium. Less commonly, metals including iron, copper, zinc, aluminum, beryllium, cobalt, manganese and arsenic may be considered heavy metals. List of Heavy Metals If you go by the definition of a heavy metal as a metallic element with a density greater than 5, then the list of heavy metals is: TitaniumVanadiumChromiumManganeseIronCobaltNickelCopperZincGalliumGermaniumArsenicZirconiumNiobiumMolybdenumTechnetiumRutheniumRhodiumPalladiumSilverCadmiumIndiumTinTelluriumLutetiumHafniumTantalumTungstenRheniumOsmiumIridiumPlatinumGoldMercuryThalliumLeadBismuthPoloniumAstatineLanthanumCeriumPraseodymiumNeodymiumPromethiumSamariumEuropiumGadoliniumTerbiumDysprosiumHolmiumErbiumThuliumYtterbiumActiniumThoriumProtactiniumUraniumNeptuniumPlutoniumAmericiumCuriumBerkeliumCaliforniumEinsteiniumFermiumNobeliumRadiumLawrenciumRutherfordiumDubniumSeaborgiumBohriumHassiumMeitneriumDarmstadtiumRoentgeniumCoperniciumElements 113-118 Keep in mind, this list includes both natural and synthetic elements, as well as elements that are heavy, but necessary for animal and plant nutrition.