What Are Heavy Metals In The Body?

Metals are natural elements made in the earth. Do you remember the periodic table from science class? Certain metals on that table are vital to our health, in trace amounts, while others can be dangerous. In this article we'll uncover how we're likely to encounter them, which ones are harmful, and simple tips for detection.

Iron, copper, mercury, arsenic, and lead make up a few of the most notable metals. According to an article published in 2018 by InTech Open, they can be found in multiple forms. We frequently find these metals in dust particles (in factories), old plumbing pipes, polluted foods, tap water, and items like batteries, pesticides, and paint (via WebMD). Specific occupations like welding or construction workers come in contact with heavy metals regularly.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) lists numerous negative outcomes from overexposure to these ores. After eating, drinking or breathing high volumes of toxic metals, the body experiences what is called heavy metal poisoning, according to Healthline. This results in unusual reactions like confusion, loss of appetite, jaundice, intestinal bleeding, tremors and seizures. Each type of poisoning renders different symptoms. NORD reports that long-term contact may cause kidney and liver damage, neuropathy, memory loss, or miscarriages. High amounts of metals in drinking water also delay cognitive development in infants and children (via WebMD).

How to protect yourself and your family

Detecting these metals can be done with periodic testing. Monitoring the level of metals in drinking water and soil opens the door for proper treatment and prevention. Good Housekeeping's list of tap and well water testing kits make for a great start. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a farmer's guide for testing soil. Extensive tests allow for samples to be sent in for lab testing. Exell suggests simpler options that will give you immediate values to work with.

Protect yourself and your family from heavy metal poisoning by testing all water sources in the home. Opt for organic veggies (without pesticides). Herbs like spirulina and cilantro are known to naturally remove toxins from the body (via Medical News Today). Take care when choosing the types of fish and other foods that may be subject to metal exposure, per Better Health. Keep an ear to the ground about industrial plants near your neighborhood. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommends proper ventilation while working with heavy metals.

Certain metals are essential to balance our health, however other metals are inimical. Metal toxicity can cause damage in the body if undetected. Natural ways to prevent poisoning are to mindfully choose occupations, products, and food items with minimal amounts of toxic metals. At-home tests help detect unsafe elements in drinking water. If you work with metals or experience a sudden change in your health after using a product, seek medical attention right away.