Below a list of the most common toxic heavy metals with more information:
Mercury is not only one of the most dangerous toxins out there; it is also the most common. Mercury is present in food [especially fish], the air we breathe and dental fillings. It has also been added as a preservative to many vaccines. Many people are at risk from mercury poisoning and most of us have elevated levels of mercury in our bodies. This is why we have dedicated an entire section to mercury and amalgam fillings. We have also developed a special Amalgam Detox Protocol and discuss mercury in vaccines.
Lead is a poisonous heavy metal and like mercury it is a potent neurotoxin. Lead is heavily used in the construction industry but is also a major component in certain types of paint and PVC plastic. Most lead poisoning occurs through ingestion or inhalation. Lead is part of the air we breathe and it can be found in certain foods or drinking water. Lead is particularly toxic to children who are also at an increased risk of ingesting the toxin via exposure to lead paints. As lead paint deteriorates, it peels, pulverizes and can then enter the body through hand-to-mouth contact.
Lead affects every organ and system in our body. It damages the nervous system and can cause brain and blood disorders as well as kidney damage.
Arsenic is a toxic metalloid [semi metal] widely used as an alloy for copper or lead. It is also used as an insecticide and wood preservative as well as part of animal feed.
Arsenic is extremely poisonous and can cause heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases and diabetes.
Arsenic contamination of ground water is a serious problem worldwide. In the U.S. arsenic is most commonly found in the ground waters of the southwest. In Wisconsin studies have linked increased levels of skin cancer with arsenic exposure through drinking water. Millions of private wells in the U.S. have unknown arsenic levels and in some areas over 20% of wells may contain levels that exceed established limits.
Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. It is lightweight, durable, ductile and easily malleable. Due to these desirable properties it is one of the most widely used metals today. Aluminum is found in vehicles, airplanes and packaging but also used for construction, household items and consumer electronics. Most of us absorb aluminium on a daily basis, since it is an ingredient in antiperspirants and widely used as a food additive.
While not as toxic as mercury or lead, long-term exposure can cause health effects such as osteopenia [a precursor to osteoporosis] and aluminium has also been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Cadmium is a toxic metal that is primarily used in batteries. Cadmium is also used in metal plating, plastics and textile manufacturing. Many foods contain cadmium because of its presence in soil and water. It’s estimated that of the 30 micrograms (mcg — millionths of a gram) of cadmium the average person ingests daily, 1-3 mcg is retained by the body.
Smokers typically have twice as much cadmium in their bodies as non-smokers due to the large quantities of cadmium contained in cigarette smoke. Cadmium damages lunge tissue and can build up over time to cause kidney, liver, bone and blood damage. Some research also links Cadmium to lung and prostate cancer.
Antimony is a toxic metalloid [semi metal] with similar health effects as arsenic. It is mainly used as a flame retardant and is thus used in children’s clothing as well as aircraft and automobile seat covers. It is also used as an alloy with lead, another highly toxic metal. Antimony dust is harmful and can be fatal. Continued exposure causes lung diseases, heart problems, as well as liver and kidney damage.
Thallium is a metal that is widely used in the electronics and pharmaceutical industry as well as in glass manufacturing. Thallium is highly toxic and used to be available in the form of rat poison or insecticides. Many countries have cut back its use because of its high level of toxicity and many associated deaths by accident or criminal intent.
Thallium tends to accumulate in the body our muscles, heart and nerve tissue. It is a suspected carcinogen [cancer causing substance] and can cause liver, kidney and nerve damage as well as hair loss.
Nickel is another toxic metal that is widely used in many industrial and consumer products, including stainless steel, batteries, coins and special alloys. Humans are exposed to nickel via polluted air and drinking water, certain foods and cigarette smoke. Many foods contain small amounts of Nickel. Higher concentrations are often found in fats and chocolate or vegetables from polluted soils.
Nickel is believed to be carcinogenic [cancer causing]. In particular it has been associated with lung, larynx and prostate cancer. Continued exposure to nickel can also cause lung embolism, respiratory failures, heart disorders and an increased probability of birth defects.
In its refined form Uranium is a radioactive metal and we have all heard about its devastating effects. Apart from a wide range of military applications it is also used to fuel nuclear power plants. Uranium is not only radioactive, it is also toxic and exposure even to small quantities can cause serious health effects. It impedes the normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver and heart and is highly carcinogenic [cancer causing].
With the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan depleted uranium and its effects are once again in the news. The missiles and weapons used in those wars do not only affect the civilian population of these unfortunate countries, a lot of U.S. soldiers have also been exposed. Studies in the UK after the second Gulf War confirmed that the concentration of depleted uranium in the air over Britain had dramatically increased after the war. If those toxins can travel thousands of miles it seems we are all at risk!
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