Common Toxic Metals to Avoid,
And Where Youll Find Them
Are you feeling tired or irritable? Is your head foggy or are
you suffering from Alzheimers disease, depression or anemia?
These are just a few of the signs that you may be suffering from
metal poisoning--a toxic accumulation of heavy metals in the soft
tissues of the body.
Heavy metal poisoning is much more common than most people realize,
and if youre thinking that it doesnt apply to you
because you havent been exposed to any, think again. If
youve eaten fish regularly, had amalgam fillings, received
vaccinations, drank contaminated water, or done industrial or
agricultural work or pharmaceutical manufacturing, theres
a good chance that you have a fair amount of toxic metals in your
The effects of these toxic metals can range from subtle symptoms
to serious diseases. Since metals build up in your body over time,
symptoms are often attributed to other causes and people often
dont realize that they have been affected by metals until
its too late.
The worst part about heavy metals is that once they build up
in your body they can cause irreversible damage. Further damage
can be prevented by removing the metals, but this can be a slow,
difficult process. Prevention is the best defense when it comes
to metal poisoning, and this list of five common toxic metals
will give you a heads up to avoiding further exposure to these
Mercury is one of the most problematic of all
toxic metals because, despite its dangers and known role as a
neurotoxin, many people have it implanted in their mouth, injected
into their bloodstream, or are consuming it daily in fish.
If you are one of the millions who has received silver dental
fillings, take heed: Mercury makes up about 50 percent of every
amalgam dental filling, also known as silver fillings.
According to the American Dental Association, Dental amalgam
(silver filling) is considered a safe, affordable and durable
material that has been used to restore teeth. It contains a mixture
of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury,
which chemically binds these components into a hard, stable and
safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively,
and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.
However, consider that while 95 percent of people with disorders
of the central nervous system such as MS, epilepsy, paralysis
and migraines also have silver dental fillings. This begs the
question, would you want mercury, one of the most powerful neurotoxins
on the planet, embedded in your mouth, only inches from your brain?
The answer is obvious.
Vapors from amalgams are released continually, and studies have
found that those with these fillings can have mercury vapor concentration
10 times higher than people without them. Simple activities such
as chewing gum, drinking hot liquids and brushing teeth can increase
the release of mercury even more.
If you decide to have your amalgams replaced with a non-toxic
material, the most important thing is to find a dentist who can
remove your amalgams safely. Any dentist can technically replace
your amalgams, but if they don't employ proper precautions much
of the mercury in your fillings will go straight to your brain.
Thimerosal, a mercury-containing vaccine preservative, is
still widely used in vaccines, including those routinely administered
to children. Thimerosal contains close to 50 percent ethyl mercury
by weight. Children are particularly sensitive to the mercury
as their nervous systems are still rapidly developing. Years ago,
health-related organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
recommended that thimerosal be removed from vaccines as soon as
possible, yet its still present in many vaccinations including
Hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, acellular pertussis, tetanus
Over the past decade, the prevalence of autism and other neurodevelopmental
disorders such as attention deficit disorder have been increasing
at epidemic proportions, and many experts believe that mercury
from vaccines is at least partly to blame. It is thought that
a childs reduced ability to excrete the mercury--childrens
detoxification abilities may vary greatly--may also play a role.
It is possible to get childhood vaccines without thimerosal,
since some manufacturers have developed thimerosal-free vaccines,
however, you will have to ask your doctor to check the package
insert and provide a written guarantee that the vaccine is mercury-free.
Even then you will not know for sure, as the package inserts,
which are supposed to detail exactly what is in a vaccine, may
not even be accurate. You will also want to read the many other
reasons why vaccines can do more harm than good.
Tragically, our oceans are largely contaminated with industrial
pollutants like mercury. Ocean and farm-raised fish pick up these
toxic chemical residues, which bioconcentrate in their flesh.
The larger the fish, the more problematic because big fish eat
smaller fish, thereby getting an even greater dose of accumulated
toxins. People who regularly eat fish have higher levels of methylmercury
than those who dont.
Even the conservative Environmental Protection Agency and Food
and Drug Administration have issued warnings about the dangers
of mercury in fish, and they are now planning to issue a federal
warning to pregnant and nursing women, and even those thinking
of getting pregnant to limit their consumption of tuna, along
with their previous warnings about other types of fish, due to
mercury concerns. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can transfer
mercury to their newborns, causing significant neurological problems.
Even if you are a man or not planning to become pregnant, mercury
from fish can still accumulate in your body and cause serious
problems down the road. If you do eat fish, please be sure to
have it lab tested for mercury. Alternatively, most sardines have
little to no mercury since they are so small, and you can also
take a high-quality, purified fish oil or cod liver oil to safely
receive the health benefits of fish without the mercury.
There are many ways that humans can be exposed to lead. Among
the major sources are lead-based paint, leaded gasoline, lead-contaminated
water, manufacturing of lead batteries, rubber products, glass
and other lead-containing products, and lead oxide fumes that
result when demolishing industrial buildings. While some of these
sources, such as lead-based paint and leaded gasoline, have been
discontinued over the past few decades, their effects still show
up in the environment. For instance, it is estimated that 64 million
homes in the United States still contain lead paint, which can
either be ingested in flakes or inhaled as a microscopic dust.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
(NHANES), the prevalence of lead toxicity (levels greater than
10 mcg/dL) in U.S. children ranged from 1.5 percent for upper-income
white children living in recently built houses in the suburbs,
to 36.7 percent for black children residing in large cities. Children
are more susceptible to lead absorption than adults, whose lead
toxicity is generally related to occupational exposure. Its
estimated that more than 800,000 U.S. workers are exposed to lead
through their work.
However, low-level exposure to lead, such as through drinking
water or living near an incinerator or toxic dump, is also associated
with many negative health effects like brain dysfunction in children,
neurobehavioral changes in adults (such as a reduction in cognitive
abilities and IQ, and personality changes), hypertension and chronic
As with the other elements, aluminum is absorbed and accumulated
in the body, and has been linked to serious illnesses including
osteoporosis, extreme nervousness, anemia, headache, decreased
liver and kidney function, forgetfulness, speech disturbances
and memory loss.
Aluminum has also been widely associated with Alzheimers
disease. People who have died from Alzheimers disease
have been found to have up to four times the average amount of
aluminum accumulated in the brains nerve cells.
Antiperspirants contain aluminum that is absorbed by your
body. Its best to avoid it all together and use simple soap
and water instead. Deodorants aren't as bad as antiperspirants,
but I would also avoid using them unless it was made from some
form of baking soda.
Aluminum-contaminated water is another significant concern,
as studies have found that Alzheimers
disease is more common in regions where levels of aluminum
in drinking water are highest.
To find out whether you may be at risk from aluminum and other
toxins in your water youll need to have your water tested
by a reliable source.
Other Common Sources
- Aluminum cookware: Although aluminum pots are probably less
problematic than the sources mentioned above.
- Aluminum foil
- Over-the-counter drugs: These include many antacids, anti-diarrheal
drugs and drugs used for pain and inflammation.
- Several douche brands
- Some baking powders: Most baking powders contain aluminum
as an additive, but health food stores carry non-aluminum varieties.
- Refined foods, refined flours, baked goods, processed cheeses,
and common table salt
Organic arsenic compounds are mainly used as
pesticides, primarily on cotton plants, while inorganic arsenic
is primarily used to preserve wood. Once arsenic is released in
the environment it cannot be destroyed, and many arsenic compounds
dissolve in water.
The primary route of exposure to high levels of arsenic is typically
through occupational hazards, or near hazardous waste sites or
areas with high natural levels. You can also be exposed by breathing
sawdust or burning smoke from arsenic-treated wood. Arsenic has
also shown up in drinking water, especially among well water,
and long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water has been linked
to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages,
liver and prostate.
Exposure to low levels of arsenic can cause nausea and vomiting,
decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart
rhythm, damage to blood vessels, and a sensation of "pins
and needles" in hands and feet, and over the long term can
cause darkening of the skin and the appearance of small "corns"
or "warts" on the palms, soles, and torso.
In January 2001, the EPA revised the standard allowable level
of arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to
10 ppb. Levels must reach this lower amount by 2006. However,
some experts believe that an even tougher standard of 3 parts
per billion should have been adopted.
Its a good idea to have your water tested for arsenic,
especially if your water comes from a well, to ensure you are
not being slowly poisoned.
Cadmium, a naturally occurring metal, can be
found in food, water and cigarette smoke. It is a known human
carcinogen that appears to act in two ways: it harms DNA directly
and disturbs a DNA repair system that helps to prevent cancer.
Like other metals, cadmium stays in the body for a long time
and accumulates after long-term exposure to even low levels. Cadmium
is released into the air from mining, industry, burning coal and
household wastes, where it then binds to soil particles and dissolves
in water. Fish, plants, and animals accumulate cadmium from the
environment, as such there are low levels of the metal in most
all foods with the highest levels found in shellfish, liver, and
People are exposed to cadmium not only through foods but also
through drinking contaminated water and breathing cadmium-contaminated
air (such as near burning waste, battery manufacturing, metal
soldering or welding). Cadmium is also present in cigarette smoke,
and smoking doubles the average daily intake.
It is thought that cadmium is carcinogenic, and long-term exposure
to low levels can contribute to kidney disease, lung damage and
fragile bones. Animal studies also suggest that it may lead to
liver disease, high blood pressure, and nerve or brain damage.
Reference Source 116
Dr. Joseph Mercola