Heavy Metal Facts

What are Heavy Metals?

There are many heavy metals that can be found in our environment both naturally and from pollution. The term heavy metal is used to describe a group of metals that have similar chemical properties. Not all heavy metals are bad for us, in fact, some of these, including copper, iron and zinc, play important roles in our bodies. Heavy Metal toxicity can come from metals such as lead, which can be found in paint as well as many house hold products; Arsenic, which is commonly found in well water and wood products; and Mercury, which can build up in fish that we eat. At very high levels, most heavy metals can cause health problems.

Where are Heavy Metals Found?

Exposure to metals can occur from diet, from medications, from the environment, or in the course of work or play. Sources vary but people can be exposed to heavy metals through food, water, air, and commercial products. In the workplace, people can also be exposed as several industries use or produce metals characterized as heavy metals. Every metal is different in where it originated from and how it reacts in our bodies. If a person is suffering from Heavy Metal Toxicity, it is important to have a thorough assessment and testing of environment performed to identify potential source of the issue.

What are some of the different types of common Heavy Metals?

Aluminum — Although not considered or classified as a heavy metal, according to the medical community, Aluminum is a metal that can cause serious health issues (especially with excessive exposure). There are strong connections between aluminum exposure with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Aluminum can be found in:
Baby formula
Baked goods and processed foods
Deodorant
Antacids both over the counter and prescription
Certain Pharmaceutical drugs as a binding agent
Aluminum cooking products
Shampoo
Skin Cream

Office or House Black Mold Detection:
Natural Ways to Get Rid Of Mold

Arsenic – Is highly toxic and a known carcinogen. Currently it has been banned for residential use but is still used in some industrial applications. Arsenic is known to have an affect on the skin, liver, digestive system, nervous system and respiratory system. Arsenic can be found in:
Drinking contaminated water
Industrial purposes
Eating contaminated food (most commonly found in fruits, vegetables, and rice)
Smoking tobacco
Shellfish and other seafood
Wine or illegally distilled spirits
Malicious intent

Cadmium – In cases of cadmium exposure, signs of serious repercussions for the brain has been observed. Furthermore, it hinders the body’s ability to process important nutrients like iron, zinc, and calcium. Lack of these important elements in the body leaves people vulnerable to bone and compromised immune system disorders.  Cadmium is found in:
Car seat covers
Black rubber
Ceramics
Cigarettes
Evaporated milk
Fertilizers
Floor coverings
Fungicides
Furniture
Silver polish

Lead— Can be traced to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, aggression, hyperactivity, and many other health issues. Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe. It is found in
Cigarette smoke (first-hand or second-hand)
Canned food
Colored and glossy print
Ceramic pottery and dishes
Lead Paint (common in older homes)
Lead water pipes (common in older homes)
Refined chocolate
Vehicle emissions

Mercury—Known for its swift ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the brain. Mercury is linked to neurological, psychological, and immunological disorders in people.  Mercury is considered by WHO as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern. It has also been linked to heart arrhythmias, headaches, blurred vision, and weakness.  It is found in:
Dental fillings (silver-looking ones)
Fish (Not all fish, but many farmed varieties tend to be contaminated with mercury);
Immunizations
Batteries
Thermometers and barometers
Electric switches and relays
Lamps (some types of light bulbs)
Skin-lightening products and cosmetics
Pharmaceuticals
How can Heavy Metals affect your health?
There are many risk factors associated with Heavy Metal Toxicity. One of the main issues people are faced with in regards to Heavy Metals is not being aware they have Heavy Metal poisoning until the damage has already presented itself. According to the WHO, many heavy metals such as mercury and lead have been linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In order to be aware of the risks of Heavy Metal Toxicity, it is important to understand the sources of heavy metals. If you think you are suffering from heavy metal poisoning, your doctor should be contacted immediately.

What are the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning?

There is growing evidence that chronic or long-term exposure to lower levels of heavy metals can also cause health issues. The symptoms of chronic heavy metal poisoning can be severe, but are often less obvious and develop much slower over time than symptoms caused by acute exposure.

Many of the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity can include:

Headache
Weakness
Muscle and joint pains
Constipation
Feeling tired

Each person’s body can react differently suspected symptoms should be directed to a doctor for diagnosis.

How do I avoid heavy metal poisoning?

The way to protect yourself and your family from heavy metal poisoning is to identify the source and remove it to prevent any further exposure. There are several different testing methodologies implemented by CMI that identify sources within the environment. Preventing exposure in the first place is ideal. Some easy ways to do this include:
Limit dust in the environment and remove your shoes when you go inside.
Be aware of local fish advisories regarding mercury levels.
Be aware of sources of lead exposure.
Read labels on products to see if they contain heavy metals.

How should Heavy Metals be cleaned?

Before cleaning or mitigating Heavy Metals from your home or office you need to understand the types and extent of the pathogen. Once identified it is important to follow industry guidelines and regulations for proper clean up.

How do you test for chronic heavy metal poisoning?

The best way to test for heavy metals clinically should be recommended by a doctor based on your medical history. Common heavy metals testing within the body is conducted through urine, hair and some are tested for in blood samples. Whether heavy metals in your body are causing health problems is a different question, and must be determined in conversation with your health care provider.

Common Treatments of Heavy Metal Toxicity

The best way to treat for heavy metals poisoning should be recommended by a doctor based on your medical history. Most treatment process involves use of metal chelating drugs or intravenous EDTA chelation. Some patients are also recommended intravenous Vitamin C and replacement mineral infusions that support the body through the metal removal process.

Heavy Metal Remediation

The process of eliminating of abatement or mitigation of Heavy Metals depends on the type of metal detected within the environment. Different regulations and laws have been developed by the EPA and other government agencies to help protect the general public while considering the process for cleanup.

It is important when choosing a company to perform cleanup for heavy metals such as lead, to check their certifications and licenses before beginning any project. It is in the best interest of the occupants of the home or office as well as those in the immediate area. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to hire a third party testing company like CMI to write the scope of work before remediation begins. After the remediation is complete, it is extremely important to have CMI test the environment post abatement to verify it has been completed correctly and contaminant has been brought back to an acceptable level.

For more information on proper remediation techniques:
EPA – http://www2.epa.gov/lead/evaluating-and-eliminating-lead-based-paint-hazards

Heavy Metal Symptoms

Heavy metal toxicity or heavy metal poisoning can cause a variety of signs and symptoms. While indicators of toxicity vary, several symptoms are often observed and may be telling of heavy metal toxicity:
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Abdominal pain
• Central nervous system dysfunction
• Heart problems
• Anemia
• Fingernail or toenail discoloration

Acute metal toxicity can be a life-threatening medical emergency that may require aggressive treatment in a hospital setting. If you suspect you have been exposed to a toxic metal, seek medical attention immediately.

• Chronic pain throughout the muscles and tendons or any soft tissues of the body
• Chronic malaise – general feeling of discomfort, fatigue, and illness
• Brain fog – state of forgetfulness and confusion
• Chronic infections such as Candida
• Gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and indigestion
• Food allergies
• Dizziness
• Migraines and/or headaches
• Visual disturbances
• Mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety
• Nervous system malfunctions – burning extremities, numbness, tingling, paralysis, and/or an electrifying feeling throughout the body

Heavy Metal Prevention

The way to protect yourself and your family from heavy metal poisoning is to identify the source and remove it to prevent any further exposure. There are several different testing methodologies implemented by CMI that identify sources within the environment. Preventing exposure in the first place is ideal. Some easy ways to do this include:

Limit dust in the environment and remove your shoes when you go inside.
Be aware of local fish advisories regarding mercury levels.
Be aware of sources of lead exposure.
Read labels on products to see if they contain heavy metals.

Ten Heavy Metal Toxicity Prevention Tips

1. Drink water filtered with a high quality home water purification system. Tap water may contain heavy metals.
2. Avoid unnecessary vaccine. Most vaccines contain harmful synthetic chemicals and many of them contain heavy metals.
3. Eat food that is free of industrial pollutants such as pesticide. Many of these synthetic pollutants contain heavy metals.
4. Avoid using products that are made with aluminum.
5. Avoid taking over-the-counter antacids because many of them contain high levels of aluminum. Aluminum is hard for the body to absorb but the addition of citrate or citric acid can dramatically increase its absorption.
6. Avoid sea food as much as possible because a good portion of sea food contains some levels of mercury. Shellfish is the sea food that you should avoid the most because it usually contains high levels of toxin.
7. Avoid dental amalgams (silver dental fillings).
8. Avoid areas that have dangerous levels of air pollution.
9. Avoid smoking and second hand smoke. Cigarettes are full of heavy metals.
10. Many cosmetics contain harmful synthetic ingredients and a good portion of them contain lead.

Heavy Metal & Your Health

Heavy metals with adverse health effects in humans, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, present major concerns due to their presence in the environment. There are many documented cases noting the potential for serious health consequences (ATSDR).

Acute heavy metal poisoning has proven to damage central nervous function, the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems, lungs, kidneys, liver and bones. Chronic heavy metal exposure has been implicated in several degenerative diseases of these same systems and may increase the risk of some cancers (CDC).

Heavy metals are ubiquitous in the environment. Humans risk overexposure from environmental concentrations that occur naturally or human activities. It is very important to note that treatment regimens vary drastically and are custom-made to each individual’s medical condition and the occurrence of their exposure. Providing a complete history of the person, including their occupation, hobbies, recreational activities, and environment, is critical in diagnosing heavy metal toxicity. A possible history of ingestion often facilitates a diagnosis, particularly in children. Findings from physical examinations vary with the age of the person, health status of the person, amount or form of the substance, and time since exposure.
It is important to consult a medical professional when dealing with heavy metal poisoning for further information.