Heavy Metals

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Latest Edit: General 2013-06-19 (EDT)

Article Testing for toxic metals and essential elements in autism, IHP, Dec/Jan 2009

Heavy metals are environmental toxins that are known to contribute to a number of. The following chart looks at the most common heavy metals, the symptoms and diseases associated with them and the common sources.

Element Symptoms and diseases associated with heavy metals Common Sources
Aluminum Absorbed through the skin, lungs and intestinal tract. Skin rashes, eczema, contact dermatitis pulmonary disease, bone diseases, osteoporosis, neurotoxicity, suspected cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, dementia and other neurological disorders. Personal care products: cosmetics, antiperspirants, astringents. Food: food additives. Household: Beverage cans, pots and pans, foil, water treatment. Pharmaceutical: antacids, buffered aspirin. 'Other: dialysis.
Antimony Topical and respiratory irritant, dizziness, headache, insomnia, loss of smell, hypertension, ECG abnormalities, menstrual disturbances, spontaneous abortion Lifestyle: smoking. Industry: automobile batteries, incinerators, solder, sheet metal, flame retardants, plastics, textiles, rubber, adhesives, paper, paint, ceramics. Pharmaceutical: anti fungal or de-worming agents
Arsenic Absorbed through the mouth, lungs and skin. Respiratory and gastro intestinal irritant, headaches, anemia, anxiety, cardiac arrhythmias, neurotoxicity, depression, garlic breath, hyperpigmentation of skin, neuralgia and neuropathy, nephritis, spontaneous abortion and birth defects, promotes tumor formation, cancer (lung, skin, liver, bladder and kidney) Food: well water, seafood and shellfish, meats. Lifestyle: smoking. Industry: Automobile batteries, asphalt, lead and copper refining, wood preservative, pesticides (primarily cotton), fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, algaecides, rodenticides, growth stimulants for plants and animals, lead oxide, glass, electronics. Environment: smog, polluted air
Cadmium Absorbed by inhalation or ingestion. Primarily affects the lungs, kidney, bones and immune system. Liver dysfunction, kidney disease, anaemia, behavioural changes, emphysema, migraines, hypertension, hypoglycemia, autoimmune disorders, high cholesterol, neurotoxicity, birth defects, infertility, cancer (lung, kidney, prostate, uterus, breast, bladder, pancreas, leukemia) Lifestyle: smoking (both first and second) is the primary source. Food: well water, food (if soil contamination), seafood, liver and kidney meat. Industry: Asphalt, batteries, plastics, paints, metal soldering and welding, metallurgy, photography, printing, textiles, rubber, fungicides, fertilizer. Environment: air pollution
Copper Essential in small amounts, toxic in high concentrations and can lead to rheumatic conditions, tumours, liver or kidney disease. Food: Tap water. Household: cookware
Lead Neuro-toxin that targets the nervous system, kidneys, bones, heart and blood and poses greatest risk to infants, children and pregnant women. Abdominal pain, colic, anemia, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, mood swings, liver dysfunction, mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease, vertigo, weight loss, hearing loss, still births, developmental delay, tooth decay, menstrual problems, cancer Food: lead-contaminated water and food. Personal care products: cosmetics. Lifestyle: smoking. Industry: lead crystal, pesticides, batteries, solder, pipes, roofing materials, caulking, petroleum refining, radiation protection, lead-based paints, plastics, ceramics, electrical wire insulation and devices, TV glass, brass, bronze, gasoline, mining, fertilizer, candle wicks, auto exhaust. Environment: contaminated soil, air pollution. Other: some herbal products from India and China
Mercury Affects the nervous system, kidneys and liver. Fatigue, irritability, emotional disturbances, neuropathy, nephritis, altered libido, spontaneous abortion, excessive salivation, tremors, menstrual disorders, autoimmune disease, birth defects. Food: fish (freshwater bass and trout, saltwater tuna and swordfish), tap and well water. Dental: “silver” amalgams are a primary source PCP: skin lightening creams. Environment: naturally occurs in air and soil Industry: thermometers, light bulbs , batteries, fireworks, pesticides, fungicides, asphalt, agricultural chemicals, photography, electrical equipment, textiles, interior paint before 1990, waste incineration, paper industry Pharmaceutical: vaccines, antiseptic creams, laxatives, haemorrhoidal preparations
Nickel Dermatitis, respiratory irritation, colic, emphysema, excessive salivation, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, vertigo, liver toxicity, male infertility, cancer Food: baking powder, cocoa powder, tea, hydrogenated oils. Household: jewellery, coins, stainless-steel cookware, braces. Lifestyle: smoking. Industry: ceramics, cast iron, metal industry, batteries, electroplating, electrical circuits, dyes, pesticides, asphalt, power plants, waste incinerators, diesel exhaust
Thallium Anxiety, hair loss, muscle pain, headache, colic, liver dysfunction, colitis, gastroenteritis, abdominal pain, burning mouth and throat, neurological disorders Food: seafood, fish, water. Lifestyle: smoking. Environment: air pollution.