Since its discovery, tungsten, a transition element of Group VIb of the Periodic Table of Elements, and its compounds have been considered environmentally benign. Its presence in biological and drinking water samples in Fallon, Nevada, an acute lymphocytic leukemia cluster struck community has alarmed public health, environmental and regulatory agencies. Tungsten, a metal of extraordinary properties that make it hardly substitutable, is considered an essential commodity with a wide variety of uses stretching from household necessities to highly specialized applications. This work is undertaken in order to explore aspects of environmental behavior of tungsten and its compounds. Occurrence data in terrestrial, atmospheric, aquatic and biotic systems are presented. Various aspects of environmental chemistry, fate transport across environmental interfaces and toxicology are discussed with the objective of identifying knowledge gaps and outlining directions for future research.
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