Iron is essential to all living things but in large quantities can be toxic – possibly leading to liver and kidney damage.
However, we need Iron for our blood – to form haemaglobin and carry oxygen. Males need 7mg daily and females 11mg but only 25% of what is in food is actually absorbed. It is estimated that 500 million people are anaemic through lack of Iron.
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It is also the heaviest element that can be made by nuclear fission in a star. It is the ‘ash’ of stars and if a star is mainly Iron it has run out of its primary source of energy.
Adapted from ‘Nature’s Building Blocks’ by John Emsley ISBN 0-19-850340-7