I had a great question from a patient last week that I thought deserved answering for everyone. She recently found out she had high levels of mercury and wondered where she could have gotten an exposure to heavy metals. There are many metals in our daily lives that you don’t even realize. We don’t need the exaggerated arsenic laden elderberry tea in Arsenic and Old lace to get an exposure (if you haven’t seen this movie it’s a classic!). When you start looking at all the places where we are exposed to heavy metals you will be completely shocked!
Symptoms of toxicity range from chronic fatigue, headaches, joint pain, rashes to brain fog and gut issues, just to name a few.
Read on for 5 unsuspecting ways you are getting exposed to heavy metals. Hint… it is in things you do on a daily basis!
Let’s look at the top 5 areas of exposure
- Public water: oh man is this a hot spot. This could be an entire year’s worth of blogs looking at the individual toxins found in our water: lead, hexavalent chromium, antibiotics and many more. Cities are required to do water quality tests yearly and the reports are available to the public. It’s not just our water supply with heavy metals its the old pipes in our houses that are exposing us. Lead pipes were often used for our water supply piping and wasn’t banned for pipes with drinking water until 1986. Many cities recognized the problems with lead back in the 1920’s and had already made efforts to move away from lead pipes but lead solder for the pipes continued into the 1980’s. Even with the ban, until 2014 plumbing fixtures could contain up to 8% of lead-by-weight and be labelled as “lead free”. The acceptable limit is now reduced to 0.25%. Take home point, you need to test your own water.
- Beauty products: Really? Unfortunately, it’s true and we have no idea. When was the last time you saw a contaminant report on your beauty products? Never, that’s because it doesn’t exist! Lead has been found in lipstick among other heavy metals. Check the Clean Safe Cosmetics site or EWG.org for information on ingredients in your products.
- Pesticides/herbicides: This is an obvious one as being toxic but they often carry heavy metals, too. Residuals on our food are our primary place of contamination but runoff into our water supply from the farms is a major contributor.
- Dental fillings: this has been a hot spot for years. These can slowly leak mercury over time and can be a problem but removing them without the proper technique is another problem so be sure and go to someone who is experienced with these protocols. I always have my patients do a chelation type of protocol before and a week after removal to try to grab any released mercury so call us if you are having these removed.
- Fire retardants: this is on furniture, mattresses, clothing (especially children’s – yikes) and car seat covers, etc. The retardants often contain heavy metals like antimony and cadmium. FYI – cadmium is one of the toxic metals found in cigarettes!
I have to mention that medications may also contain heavy metals as well as air pollution and exhaust from cars are also contributors. Even the keys to our house and cars often contain lead!
You can measure heavy metals several ways. The best way is a urine test which is a first morning void type of test. Call us today if you would like to see if you are harboring excessive doses heavy metals!
To your health!