Heavy metals are present all throughout our environment, and some are required for good health. However, heavy exposure to any number of them can lead to toxicity. If you work in an industry where many of these metals are readily available, chances are you have been exposed on some level. But many can hide in unlikely places, which makes early diagnosis rather difficult. In acute situations, toxicity usually results from lung and skin exposure.
Unfortunately, sources of heavy metal exposure are far spread, as they can be found in dental fillings, fumes, vapors, diet, and even in the home, particularly in old paint, glass, and plumbing. Every year, United States chemical companies release 6.5 trillion pounds of chemicals into the environment, 48 tons of that being mercury.
If heavy metals are not properly excreted through natural detoxification pathways, they may buildup in various tissues. But with the correct tests and treatment methods, it is possible to prevent further exposure, minimize side effects, and remove years of toxic accumulation.
Mercury – Mercury toxicity, even in small amounts, can cause serious nervous, immune, and digestive problems. Considered as one of the top ten chemicals for major public health, mercury is a deadly metal. In the organic, mercury is usually accumulated through fish/shellfish consumption.
Lead – Lead toxicity is widespread, and overexposure affects the neurologic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal systems. Children, who are extremely vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, are generally at high risk. Lead expsure goes after the nervous system, and lower levels can still affect a persons health status. Lead can interfere with hormones, such as vitamin D. It can even increase the risk for hypertension.
Cadmium – When addressing cadmium toxicity, prevention is key. Most of the cadmium that builds up in individuals bodies comes from diet, but smoking, nutritional deficiencies, and inhalation can affect overall levels. Chronic exposure to cadmium negatively impacts the kidneys and bones.
Arsenic – Overexposure of arsenic causes skin, lung, and internal cancers. Anemia, skin lesions, and neuropathy are all trademark signs of chronic overexposure. Even though its naturally occurring, arsenic is carcinogenic. In regards to gastrointestinal health, arsenic toxicity increases gut permeability, which leads to fluid loss, alterations in mucosa, loss of vitamins, elevated liver enzymes, and bloody diarrhea.