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Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals


Heavy metal toxicity has proven to be a major threat and there are several health risks associated with it. The toxic effects of these metals, even though they do not have any biological role, remain present in some or the other form harmful for the human body and its proper functioning. They sometimes act as a pseudo element of the body while at certain times they may even interfere with metabolic processes. Few metals, such as aluminium, can be removed through elimination activities, while some metals get accumulated in the body and food chain, exhibiting a chronic nature. Various public health measures have been undertaken to control, prevent and treat metal toxicity occurring at various levels, such as occupational exposure, accidents and environmental factors. Metal toxicity depends upon the absorbed dose, the route of exposure and duration of exposure, i.e. acute or chronic. This can lead to various disorders and can also result in excessive damage due to oxidative stress induced by free radical formation. This review gives details about some heavy metals and their toxicity mechanisms, along with their health effects.

Keywords: heavy metals, metal toxicity, oxidative stress, free radicals


Metals are substances with high electrical conductivity, malleability, and luster, which voluntarily lose their electrons to form cations. Metals are found naturally in the earth’s crust and their compositions vary among different localities, resulting in spatial variations of surrounding concentrations. The metal distribution in the atmosphere is monitored by the properties of the given metal and by various environmental factors (Khlifi & Hamza-Chaffai, 2010). The main objective of this review is to provide insight into the sources of heavy metals and their harmful effects on the environment and living organisms. Heavy metals are generally referred to as those metals which possess a specific density of more than 5 g/cm3 and adversely affect the environment and living organisms (Järup, 2003). These metals are quintessential to maintain various biochemical and physiological functions in living organisms when in very low concentrations, however they become noxious when they exceed certain threshold concentrations. Although it is acknowledged that heavy metals have many adverse health effects and last for a long period of time, heavy metal exposure continues and is increasing in many parts of the world. Heavy metals are significant environmental pollutants and their toxicity is a problem of increasing significance for ecological, evolutionary, nutritional and environmental reasons (Jaishankar et al., 2013; Nagajyoti et al., 2010). The most commonly found heavy metals in waste water include arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc, all of which cause risks for human health and the environment (Lambert et al., 2000). Heavy metals enter the surroundings by natural means and through human activities. Various sources of heavy metals include soil erosion, natural weathering of the earth’s crust, mining, industrial effluents, urban runoff, sewage discharge, insect or disease control agents applied to crops, and many others (Morais et al. , 2012). shows the global production and consumption of selected toxic metals during 1850–1990 (Nriagu, 1996).

The global production and consumption of selected toxic metals during 1850–1990 (Adapted from Nriagu, 1996).

Although these metals have crucial biological functions in plants and animals, sometimes their chemical coordination and oxidation-reduction properties have given them an additional benefit so that they can escape control mechanisms such as homeostasis, transport, compartmentalization and binding to required cell constituents. These metals bind with protein sites which are not made for them by displacing original metals from their natural binding sites causing malfunctioning of cells and ultimately toxicity. Previous research has found that oxidative deterioration of biological macromolecules is primarily due to binding of heavy metals to the DNA and nuclear proteins (Flora et al., 2008).

Heavy metals and their toxicity mechanisms


Arsenic is one of the most important heavy metals causing disquiet from both ecological and individual health standpoints (Hughes et al. , 1988). It has a semimetallic property, is prominently toxic and carcinogenic, and is extensively available in the form of oxides or sulfides or as a salt of iron, sodium, calcium, copper, etc. (Singh et al., 2007). Arsenic is the twentieth most abundant element on earth and its inorganic forms such as arsenite and arsenate compounds are lethal to the environment and living creatures. Humans may encounter arsenic by natural means, industrial source, or from unintended sources. Drinking water may get contaminated by use of arsenical pesticides, natural mineral deposits or inappropriate disposal of arsenical chemicals. Deliberate consumption of arsenic in case of suicidal attempts or accidental consumption by children may also result in cases of acute poisoning (Mazumder, 2008; Saha et al., 1999). Arsenic is a protoplastic poison since it affects primarily the sulphydryl group of cells causing malfunctioning of cell respiration, cell enzymes and mitosis (Gordon & Quastel, 1948).

Mechanism of arsenic toxicity

In arsenic biotransformation, harmful inorganic arsenic compounds get methylated by bacteria, algae, fungi and humans to give monomethylarsonic acid (MMA) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA). In this biotransformation process, these inorganic arsenic species (iAs) are converted enzymetically to methylated arsenicals which are the end metabolites and the biomarker of chronic arsenic exposure.

iAs(V) → iAs(III) → MMA(V) → MMA(III) → DMA(V)

Biomethylation is a detoxification process and end products are methylated inorganic arsenic such as MMA (V) and DMA (V), which excreted through urine are bioindication of chronic arsenic exposure. However MMA (III) is not excreted and remains inside the cell as an intermediate product.

Monomethylarsonic acid (MMA III), an intermediate product, is found to be highly toxic compared to other arsenicals, potentially accountable for arsenic-induced carcinogenesis (Singh et al., 2007).


Lead is a highly toxic metal whose widespread use has caused extensive environmental contamination and health problems in many parts of the world. Lead is a bright silvery metal, slightly bluish in a dry atmosphere. It begins to tarnish on contact with air, thereby forming a complex mixture of compounds, depending on the given conditions. shows various sources of lead pollution in the environment (Sharma & Dubey, 2005). The sources of lead exposure include mainly industrial processes, food and smoking, drinking water and domestic sources. The sources of lead were gasoline and house paint, which has been extended to lead bullets, plumbing pipes, pewter pitchers, storage batteries, toys and faucets (Thürmer et al., 2002). In the US, more than 100 to 200,000 tons of lead per year is being released from vehicle exhausts. Some is taken up by plants, fixation to soil and flow into water bodies, hence human exposure of lead in the general population is either due to food or drinking water (Goyer, 1990). Lead is an extremely toxic heavy metal that disturbs various plant physiological processes and unlike other metals, such as zinc, copper and manganese, it does not play any biological functions. A plant with high lead concentration fastens the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing lipid membrane damage that ultimately leads to damage of chlorophyll and photosynthetic processes and suppresses the overall growth of the plant (Najeeb et al., 2014). Some research revealed that lead is capable of inhibiting the growth of tea plant by reducing biomass and debases the tea quality by changing the quality of its components (Yongsheng et al., 2011). Even at low concentrations, lead treatment was found to cause huge instability in ion uptake by plants, which in turn leads to significant metabolic changes in photosynthetic capacity and ultimately in a strong inhibition of plant growth (Mostafa et al., 2012).

Various sources of lead pollution in the environment (Adapted from Sharma & Dubey, 2005).

Mechanisms of lead toxicity

Lead metal causes toxicity in living cells by following ionic mechanism and that of oxidative stress. Many researchers have shown that oxidative stress in living cells is caused by the imbalance between the production of free radicals and the generation of antioxidants to detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage. shows the attack of heavy metals on a cell and the balance between ROS production and the subsequent defense presented by antioxidants. Antioxidants, as e.g. glutathione, present in the cell protect it from free radicals such as H2O2. Under the influence of lead, however, the level of the ROS increases and the level of antioxidants decreases. Since glutathione exists both in reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) state, the reduced form of glutathione gives its reducing equivalents (H+ + e) from its thiol groups of cystein to ROS in order to make them stable. In the presence of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, reduced glutathione readily binds with another molecule of glutathione after donating the electron and forms glutathione disulfide (GSSG). The reduced form (GSH) of glutathione accounts for 90% of the total glutathione content and the oxidized form (GSSG) accounts for 10% under normal conditions. Yet under the condition of oxidative stress, the concentration of GSSG exceeds the concentration of GSH. Another biomarker for oxidative stress is lipid peroxidation, since the free radical collects electron from lipid molecules present inside the cell membrane, which eventually causes lipid peroxidation (Wadhwa et al., 2012; Flora et al., 2012). At very high concentrations, ROS may cause structural damage to cells, proteins, nucleic acid, membranes and lipids, resulting in a stressed situation at cellular level (Mathew et al.,

The attack of heavy metals on a cell and the balance between ROS production and the subsequent defense presented by antioxidants.

The ionic mechanism of lead toxicity occurs mainly due to the ability of lead metal ions to replace other bivalent cations like Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe2+ and monovalent cations like Na+, which ultimately disturbs the biological metabolism of the cell. The ionic mechanism of lead toxicity causes significant changes in various biological processes such as cell adhesion, intra- and inter-cellular signaling, protein folding, maturation, apoptosis, ionic transportation, enzyme regulation, and release of neurotransmitters. Lead can substitute calcium even in picomolar concentration affecting protein kinase C, which regulates neural excitation and memory storage (Flora et al., 2012).


The metallic mercury is a naturally occurring metal which is a shiny silver-white, odorless liquid and becomes colorless and odorless gas when heated. Mercury is very toxic and exceedingly bioaccumulative. Its presence adversely affects the marine environment and hence many studies are directed towards the distribution of mercury in water environment. Major sources of mercury pollution include anthropogenic activities such as agriculture, municipal wastewater discharges, mining, incineration, and discharges of industrial wastewater (Chen et al. , 2012).

Mercury exists mainly in three forms: metallic elements, inorganic salts and organic compounds, each of which possesses different toxicity and bioavailability. These forms of mercury are present widely in water resources such as lakes, rivers and oceans where they are taken up by the microorganisms and get transformed into methyl mercury within the microorganism, eventually undergoing biomagnification causing significant disturbance to aquatic lives. Consumption of this contaminated aquatic animal is the major route of human exposure to methyl mercury (Trasande et al., 2005). Mercury is extensively used in thermometers, barometers, pyrometers, hydrometers, mercury arc lamps, fluorescent lamps and as a catalyst. It is also being used in pulp and paper industries, as a component of batteries and in dental preparations such as amalgams. shows the global usage of mercury for various applications (the GEF and Mercury: The Challenge By Ibrahima Sow, GEF Climate & Chemicals Team. Available from: http://www.thegef.org/gef/greenline/april-2012/gef-and-mercury-challenge).

The global usage of mercury for various applications (total in 2005: 3,760 metric tons).

Mechanism of mercury toxicity

Mercury is well known as a hazardous metal and its toxicity is a common cause of acute heavy metal poisoning with cases of 3,596 in 1997 by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Methylmercury is a neurotoxic compound which is responsible for microtubule destruction, mitochondrial damage, lipid peroxidation and accumulation of neurotoxic molecules such as serotonin, aspartate, and glutamate (Patrick, 2002). The total amount of mercury emission into the environment has been assessed at 2,200 metric tons annually (Ferrara et al., 2000). It is estimated that 8 to 10% of American women have mercury levels that would induce neurological disorders in any child they gave birth to, according to both the Environmental Protection Agency and National Academy of Science (Haley, 2005). Animals which are exposed to toxic mercury have shown adverse neurological and behavioral changes. Rabbits when exposed to 28.8 mg/m3 mercury vapor for 1 to 13 weeks have shown vague pathological changes, marked cellular degeneration and brain necrosis (Ashe et al., 1953).

The brain remains the target organ for mercury, yet it can impair any organ and lead to malfunctioning of nerves, kidneys and muscles. It can cause disruption to the membrane potential and interrupt with intracellular calcium homeostasis. Mercury binds to freely available thiols as the stability constants are high (Patrick, 2002). Mercury vapors can cause bronchitis, asthma and temporary respiratory problems. Mercury plays a key role in damaging the tertiary and quaternary protein structure and alters the cellular function by attaching to the selenohydryl and sulfhydryl groups which undergo reaction with methyl mercury and hamper the cellular structure. It also intervenes with the process of transcription and translation resulting in the disappearance of ribosomes and eradication of endoplasmic reticulum and the activity of natural killer cells. The cellular integrity is also affected causing free radical formation. The basis for heavy metal chelation is that even though the mercury sulfhydryl bond is stable and divided to surrounding sulfhydryl consisting ligands, it also contributes free sulfhydryl groups to promote metal mobility within the ligands (Bernhoft, 2011).


Cadmium is the seventh most toxic heavy metal as per ATSDR ranking. It is a by-product of zinc production which humans or animals may get exposed to at work or in the environment. Once this metal gets absorbed by humans, it will accumulate inside the body throughout life. This metal was first used in World War I as a substitute for tin and in paint industries as a pigment. In today’s scenario, it is also being used in rechargeable batteries, for special alloys production and also present in tobacco smoke. About three-fourths of cadmium is used in alkaline batteries as an electrode component, the remaining part is used in coatings, pigments and platings and as a plastic stabilizer. Humans may get exposed to this metal primarily by inhalation and ingestion and can suffer from acute and chronic intoxications. Cadmium distributed in the environment will remain in soils and sediments for several decades. Plants gradually take up these metals which get accumulated in them and concentrate along the food chain, reaching ultimately the human body. In the US, more than 500,000 workers get exposed to toxic cadmium each year as per The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (Bernard, 2008; Mutlu et al., 2012). Researches have shown that in China the total area polluted by cadmium is more than 11,000 hectares and its annual amount of industrial waste of cadmium discharged into the environment is assessed to be more than 680 tons. In Japan and China, environmental cadmium exposure is comparatively higher than in any other country (Han et al., 2009). Cadmium is predominantly found in fruits and vegetables due to its high rate of soil-to-plant transfer (Satarug et al. , 2011). Cadmium is a highly toxic nonessential heavy metal that is well recognized for its adverse influence on the enzymatic systems of cells, oxidative stress and for inducing nutritional deficiency in plants (Irfan et al., 2013).

Mechanism of cadmium toxicity

The mechanism of cadmium toxicity is not understood clearly but its effects on cells are known (Patrick, 2003). Cadmium concentration increases 3,000 fold when it binds to cystein-rich protein such as metallothionein. In the liver, the cystein-metallothionein complex causes hepatotoxicity and then it circulates to the kidney and gets accumulated in the renal tissue causing nephrotoxicity. Cadmium has the capability to bind with cystein, glutamate, histidine and aspartate ligands and can lead to the deficiency of iron (Castagnetto et al., 2002). Cadmium and zinc have the same oxidation states and hence cadmium can replace zinc present in metallothionein, thereby inhibiting it from acting as a free radical scavenger within the cell.


Chromium is the seventh most abundant element on earth (Mohanty & Kumar Patra, 2013). Chromium occurs in several oxidation states in the environment ranging from Cr2+ to Cr6+ (Rodríguez et al., 2009). The most commonly occurring forms of Cr are trivalent- Cr+3 and hexavalent- Cr+6, with both states being toxic to animals, humans and plants (Mohanty & Kumar Patra, 2013). Chromium occurs naturally by the burning of oil and coal, petroleum from ferro cromate refractory material, pigment oxidants, catalyst, chromium steel, fertilizers, oil well drilling and metal plating tanneries. Anthropogenically, chromium is released into the environment through sewage and fertilizers (Ghani, 2011). Cr(III) is immobile in its reduced form and is insoluble in water whereas Cr(VI) in its oxidized state is highly soluble in water and thus mobile (Wolińska et al., 2013). In order to determine the activities of the metal ions in the environment, metal speciation is very important where in case of chromium the oxidative form of Cr(III) is not an essential contaminant of the ground water but Cr(VI) has been found to be toxic for humans (Gürkan et al. , 2012). Cr(III) resides in the organic matter of soil and aquatic environment in the form of oxides, hydroxides and sulphates (Cervantes et al., 2001). Chromium is extensively used in industries such as metallurgy, electroplating, production of paints and pigments, tanning, wood preservation, chemical production and pulp and paper production. These industries play a major role in chromium pollution with an adverse effect on biological and ecological species (Ghani, 2011). A wide range of industrial and agricultural practices increase the toxic level in the environment causing concern about the pollution caused by chromium. Pollution of the environment by chromium, particularly hexavalent chromium, has been the greatest concern in recent years (Zayed & Terry, 2003). Tanneries discharge numerous polluting heavy metals and compounds into the water streams (Nath et al., 2008). Due to the presence of excess oxygen in the environment, Cr (III) is oxidized to Cr (VI), which is extremely toxic and highly soluble in water (Cervantes et al. , 2001). In Tokyo, in August 1975, the underground water containing Cr (VI) spoil masses had a 2,000 times higher limit than the permissible limit of chromium (Zayed & Terry, 2003). In India, the chromium level in underground water has been witnessed to be more than 12 mg/L and 550–1,500 ppm/L. The mechanism of ultrastructural organization, biochemical changes and metabolic regulations has not been clarified since the process of phytotoxicity in the aquatic environment by chromium has not been concentrated on in detail (Chandra & Kulshreshtha, 2004). The discharge of industrial wastes and ground water contamination has drastically increased the concentration of chromium in soil (Bielicka et al., 2005). During manufacturing of chromate, the deposit of the Cr residues and waste water irrigation posed a serious Cr pollution to farmland. With the implementation of modern agriculture there is continuous release of Cr into the environment by means of Cr residues, Cr dust and Cr waste water irrigation, resulting in soil pollution affecting the soil-vegetable system and also disturbing the vegetable yield and its quality to humans (Duan et al. , 2010). The presence of excess of chromium beyond the permissible limit is destructive to plants since it severely affects the biological factors of the plant and enters the food chain on consumption of these plant materials. Common features due to Cr phytotoxicity are reduction in root growth, leaf chlorosis, inhibition of seed germination and depressed biomass. Chromium toxicity greatly affects the biological processes in various plants such as maize, wheat, barley, cauliflower, citrullus and in vegetables. Chromium toxicity causes chlorosis and necrosis in plants (Ghani, 2011). Enzymes like catalase, peroxidase and cytochrome oxidase with iron as their component are affected by chromium toxicity. The catalase activity stimulated with excess supply of chromium inducing toxicity has been studied with respect to photosynthesis, nitrate reductase activity, protein content in algae and photosynthetic pigments (Nath et al., 2008). Chromium (III) requires a simple diffusion process to enter into the cell and does not depend on any specific membrane carrier. In contrast to Cr(III), Cr(IV) can easily pass through the cell membrane (Chandra & Kulshreshtha, 2004).

Mechanism of chromium toxicity

In the environment, trivalent chromium Cr(III) is generally harmless due to its weak membrane permeability. Hexavalent chromium Cr(VI), on the other hand, is more active in penetrating the cell membrane through passages for isoelectric and isostructural anions such as SO42– and HPO42– channels and these chromates are taken up through phagocytosis. Cr(VI) is a strong oxidizing agent and can be reduced to give ephemeral species of pentavalent and tetravalent chromium that are different from that of Cr(III). Stabilization of the pentavelent form is carried out by glutathione and hence intracellular reduction of Cr[VI] is considered a detoxification mechanism when reduction occurs away from the target region. However if intracellular reduction of Cr[VI] occurs near the target site, it may serve to activate Cr. The reactions between Cr(VI) and biological reductants like thiols and ascorbate result in the production of reactive oxygen species such as superoxide ion, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radical, ultimately leading to oxidative stress in the cell causing damage to DNA and proteins (Stohs & Bagchi, 1995). According to literature surveys, Cr(VI) has been found to be much more dangerous than Cr(III), since Cr(VI) enters the cells more readily than does Cr(III) and is eventually reduced to Cr(III). Because of its mutagenic properties, Cr(VI) is categorized as a group 1 human carcinogen by the International Agency for the Research on Cancer (Dayan & Paine, 2001; Zhang, 2011).


Aluminium is the third most abundant element found in the earth’s crust (Gupta et al., 2013). Aluminium occurs naturally in the air, water and soil. Mining and processing of aluminium elevates its level in the environment (ATSDR, 2010). Recent investigations on environmental toxicology revealed that aluminium may present a major threat for humans, animals and plants in causing many diseases (Barabasz et al., 2002). Many factors, including pH of water and organic matter content, greatly influence the toxicity of aluminium. With decreasing pH its toxicity increases (Jeffrey et al., 1997). The mobilization of toxic aluminium ions, resulting from changes in the pH of soil and water caused by acid rains and increasing acidification of the surrounding atmosphere, has an adverse effect on the environment. This is manifested by the drying of forests, plant poisoning, crop decline or failure, death of aquatic animals, and also by various imbalances in the function of human and animal systems (Barabasz et al., 2002). A pH of surface layer of soil below 5 (pH<5) can lead to soil acidity which is a major concern around the world that affects crop production. Due to aluminium toxicity, the crop production was constrained to 67% of the total acid soil area in the world. Aluminium is one of the most commonly found elements in the earth crust. Due to acid soils (pH<5), silicon gets leached leaving behind aluminium in solid form known as aluminium oxyhydroxides, such as gibbsite and boehmite. These unstable forms of aluminium discharge phytotoxic Al3+ well-known as Al (OH)63+ in soil (Ermias Abate et al., 2013). The interaction of Al3+ with apoplastic, plasma membrane, and symplastic targets leads to toxicity and distracts the physical and cellular processes in plants. The common manifestations are root growth inhibition, cellular modification in leaves, small and dark green leaves, yellowing and death of leaves, chlorosis, purpling and foliar necrosis (Gupta et al., 2013). Aluminium in high concentrations is very toxic for aquatic animals, especially for gill breathing organisms such as fish, causing osmoregulatory failure by destructing the plasma and hemolymph ions. The activity of gill enzyme, essential for the uptake of ions, is inhibited by the monomeric form of aluminium in fish (Rosseland et al., 1990). Living organisms in water, such as seaweeds and crawfish, is also affected by Al toxicity (Bezak-Mazur, 2001). Aluminium has no biological role and is a toxic nonessential metal to microorganisms (Olaniran et al., 2013). Enzymes such as hexokinase, phosphodiesterase, alkalic phosphatase and phosphoxidase are inhibited by aluminium since it has a greater affinity to DNA and RNA. Metabolic pathways in the living organism involving calcium, phosphorous, fluorine and iron metabolism are affected by aluminium. Aluminium has been found to be very harmful to nervous, osseous and hemopoietic cells (Barabasz1 et al., 2002).

Mechanism of aluminium toxicity

Aluminium interferes with most physical and cellular processes. The exact mechanism of absorption of aluminium by the gastrointestinal tract is not understood completely. Based on literature surveys, it is difficult to give a proper time period for aluminium toxicity since some symptoms of aluminium toxicity can be detected in seconds and others in minutes after exposure to aluminium (WHO, 1997). Aluminium toxicity probably results from the interaction between aluminium and plasma membrane, apoplastic and symplastic targets (Kochian et al., 2005). In humans Mg2+ and Fe3+ are replaced by Al3+, which causes many disturbances associated with intercellular communication, cellular growth and secretory functions. The changes that are evoked in neurons by aluminium are similar to the degenerative lesions observed in Alzheimer patients. The greatest complications of aluminium toxicity are neurotoxicity effects such as neuronal atrophy in the locus ceruleus, substantia nigra and striatum (Filiz & Meral, 2007).


Iron is the second most abundant metal on the earth’s crust (EPA, 1993). Iron occupies the 26th elemental position in the periodic table. Iron is a most crucial element for growth and survival of almost all living organisms (Valko et al., 2005). It is one of the vital components of organisms like algae and of enzymes such as cytochromes and catalase, as well as of oxygen transporting proteins, such as hemoglobin and myoglobin (Vuori, 1995). Iron is an attractive transition metal for various biological redox processes due to its inter-conversion between ferrous (Fe2+) and ferric (Fe3+) ions (Phippen et al., 2008). The source of iron in surface water is anthropogenic and is related to mining activities. The production of sulphuric acid and the discharge of ferrous (Fe2+) takes place due oxidation of iron pyrites (FeS2) that are common in coal seams (Valko et al., 2005). The following equations represent the simplified oxidation reaction for ferrous and ferric iron (Phippen et al., 2008):

2FeS2 + 7O2 → 2FeSO4 + H2SO4(ferrous)

4FeSO4 + O2 + 10H2O → 4Fe(OH)3 + 4H2SO4(ferric)

The concentration of dissolved iron in the deep ocean is normally 0.6 nM or 33.5 × 10−9 mg/L. In freshwater the concentration is very low with a detection level of 5 μg/L – ICP, whereas in groundwater the concentration of dissolved iron is very high with 20 mg/L (EPA, 1993). In countries like Lithuania, many people have been exposed to elevated levels of iron through drinking water, as the collected groundwater exceeded the permissible limit set by the European Union Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of drinking water (Grazuleviciene et al., 2009). The abundance of species such as periphyton, benthic invertebrates and a fish diversity are greatly affected by the direct and indirect effects of iron contamination (Vuori, 1995). The iron precipitate will cause considerable damage by means of clogging action and hinder the respiration of fishes (EPA, 1993). A study of iron toxicity on aquatic plants, particularly rice, reported that the growth of species of aquatic reed was found to be inhibited by concentration of 1 mg/L total iron (Phippen et al., 2008). Acid soils restrict rice production and together with Zn deficiency cause a macronutrient disorder in wetland rice. The production of lowland rice was greatly affected by high concentrations of reduced iron (Fe2+) in the flooded soils. The features of iron toxicity in rice include high uptake of Fe2+ by roots, acropetal translocation into leaves, bronzing of rice leaves and yield loss (Becker & Asch, 2005).

Mechanism of iron toxicity

A wide range of harmful free radicals are formed when the absorbed iron fails to bind to the protein, which in turn severely affects the concentration of iron in mammalian cells and biological fluids. This circulating unbound iron results in corrosive effect of the gastrointestinal tract and biological fluids. An extremely higher level of iron enters into the body crossing the rate-limiting absorption step and becomes saturated. These free irons penetrate into cells of the heart, liver and brain. Due to the disruption of oxidative phosphorylation by free iron, the ferrous iron is converted to ferric iron that releases hydrogen ions, thus increasing metabolic acidity. The free iron can also lead to lipid peroxidation, which results in severe damage to mitochondria, microsomes and other cellular organelles (Albretsen, 2006). The toxicity of iron on cells has led to iron mediated tissue damage involving cellular oxidizing and reducing mechanisms and their toxicity towards intracellular organelles such as mitochondria and lysosomes. A wide range of free radicals that are believed to cause potential cellular damage are produced by excess intake of iron. The iron produced hydrogen free radicals attack DNA, resulting in cellular damage, mutation and malignant transformations which in turn cause an array of diseases (Grazuleviciene et al., 2009).

Effects of heavy metals on humans

There are 35 metals that are of concern for us because of residential or occupational exposure, out of which 23 are heavy metals: antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, cerium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, platinum, silver, tellurium, thallium, tin, uranium, vanadium, and zinc (Mosby et al.
1996). These heavy metals are commonly found in the environment and diet. In small amounts they are required for maintaining good health but in larger amounts they can become toxic or dangerous. Heavy metal toxicity can lower energy levels and damage the functioning of the brain, lungs, kidney, liver, blood composition and other important organs. Long-term exposure can lead to gradually progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes that imitate diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and muscular dystrophy. Repeated long-term exposure of some metals and their compounds may even cause cancer (Jarup, 2003). The toxicity level of a few heavy metals can be just above the background concentrations that are being present naturally in the environment. Hence thorough knowledge of heavy metals is rather important for allowing to provide proper defensive measures against their excessive contact (Ferner, 2001).

Arsenic effects

Arsenic contaminations have occurred as a result of both natural geologic processes and the activities of man. Anthropogenic sources of arsenic include human activities such as mining and processing of ores. The smelting process, both the ancient and a recent one, can release arsenic to the air and soil (Matschullat, 2000). Such types of sources can affect the quality of surface water through groundwater ejection and runoff. Another way of ground water contamination is through geologic sources such as arsenic minerals. The third type of sources are sedimentary and meta-sedimentary bed rocks (Smedley & Kinniburgh, 2002). Most of the paints, dyes, soaps, metals, semi-conductors and drugs contain arsenic. Certain pesticides, fertilizers and animal feeding operations also release arsenic to the environment in higher amounts. The inorganic forms of arsenic such as arsenite and arsenate are found to be more dangerous to human health. They are highly carcinogenic and can cause cancer of lungs, liver, bladder and skin. Humans are exposed to arsenic by means of air, food and water. Drinking water contaminated with arsenic is one of the major causes for arsenic toxicity in more than 30 countries in the world (Chowdhury et al., 2000). If the arsenic level in ground water is 10–100 times the value given in the WHO guideline for drinking water (10 μg/L), it can be a threat to human health (Hoque et al., 2011). Water may get contaminated through improperly disposed arsenical chemicals, arsenical pesticides or by natural mineral deposits. Arsenic toxicity can be either acute or chronic and chronic arsenic toxicity is termed as arsenicosis. Most of the reports of chronic arsenic toxicity in man focus on skin manifestations because of its specificity in diagnosis. Pigmentation and keratosis are the specific skin lesions that indicate chronic arsenic toxicity (Martin & Griswold, 2009). shows arsenic keratosis, so called “raindrops on a dusty road” (Bone marrow – non-neoplastic, benign changes, arsenictoxicity, available from: http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/bonemarrarsenic.html) and shows skin lesions due to arsenicosis (source: Smith et al.,

Skin lesions due to arsenicosis (Adapted from Smith et al., 2000).

Lower levels of arsenic exposure can cause nausea and vomiting, reduced production of erythrocytes and leukocytes, abnormal heart beat, pricking sensation in hands and legs, and damage to blood vessels. Long-term exposure can lead to the formation of skin lesions, internal cancers, neurological problems, pulmonary disease, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension and cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus (Smith et al.,
2000). Chronic arsenicosis results in many irreversible changes in the vital organs and the mortality rate is higher. In spite of the magnitude of this potentially lethal toxicity, there is no effective treatment for this disease (Mazumder, 2008).


Human activities such as mining, manufacturing and fossil fuel burning has resulted in the accumulation of lead and its compounds in the environment, including air, water and soil. Lead is used for the production of batteries, cosmetics, metal products such as ammunitions, solder and pipes, etc. (Martin & Griswold, 2009). Lead is highly toxic and hence its use in various products, such as paints, gasoline, etc., has been considerably reduced nowadays. The main sources of lead exposure are lead based paints, gasoline, cosmetics, toys, household dust, contaminated soil, industrial emissions (Gerhardsson et al., 2002). Lead poisoning was considered to be a classic disease and the signs that were seen in children and adults were mainly pertaining to the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract (Markowitz, 2000). Lead poisoning can also occur from drinking water. The pipes that carry the water may be made of lead and its compounds which can contaminate the water (Brochin et al., 2008). According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead is considered a carcinogen. Lead has major effects on different parts of the body. Lead distribution in the body initially depends on the blood flow into various tissues and almost 95% of lead is deposited in the form of insoluble phosphate in skeletal bones (Papanikolaou 2005). Toxicity of lead, also called lead poisoning, can be either acute or chronic. Acute exposure can cause loss of appetite, headache, hypertension, abdominal pain, renal dysfunction, fatigue, sleeplessness, arthritis, hallucinations and vertigo. Acute exposure mainly occurs in the place of work and in some manufacturing industries which make use of lead. Chronic exposure of lead can result in mental retardation, birth defects, psychosis, autism, allergies, dyslexia, weight loss, hyperactivity, paralysis, muscular weakness, brain damage, kidney damage and may even cause death (Martin & Griswold, 2009). shows the increase in blood lead concentration affecting a person’s IQ (Taylor et al., 2012). Although lead poisoning is preventable it still remains a dangerous disease which can affect most of the organs. The plasma membrane moves into the interstitial spaces of the brain when the blood brain barrier is exposed to elevated levels of lead concentration, resulting in a condition called edema (Teo et al.
1997). It disrupts the intracellular second messenger systems and alters the functioning of the central nervous system, whose protection is highly important. Environmental and domestic sources of lead ions are the main cause of the disease but with proper precautionary measures it is possible to reduce the risk associated with lead toxicity (Brochin et al., 2008). shows effects of increased lead level in blood (Brochin et al., 2008).

The increase in blood lead concentration affecting a person’s IQ (Adapted from Taylor et al., 2012).

Effects of increased lead level in blood (Adapted from Brochin et al.,


Mercury is considered the most toxic heavy metal in the environment. Mercury poisoning is referred to as acrodynia or pink disease. Mercury is released into the environment by the activities of various industries such as pharmaceuticals, paper and pulp preservatives, agriculture industry, and chlorine and caustic soda production industry (Morais et al., 2012). Mercury has the ability to combine with other elements and form organic and inorganic mercury. Exposure to elevated levels of metallic, organic and inorganic mercury can damage the brain, kidneys and the developing fetus (Alina et al., 2012). Mercury is present in most foods and beverages in the range <1 to 50 μg/kg. In marine foods it is often seen at higher levels. Organic mercury can easily permeate across the biomembranes and since they are lipophilic in nature, mercury is present in higher concentrations in most species of fatty fish and in the liver of lean fish (Reilly, 2007). Micro-organisms convert the mercury present in soil and water into methyl mercury, a toxin which can accumulate with fish age and with increasing trophic levels. EPA has declared mercuric chloride and methyl mercury to be highly carcinogenic. The nervous system is very sensitive to all types of mercury. Increased exposure of mercury can alter brain functions and lead to shyness, tremors, memory problems, irritability, and changes in vision or hearing. Exposure to metallic mercury vapors at higher levels for shorter periods of time can lead to lung damage, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, skin rashes, increased heart rate or blood pressure. Symptoms of organic mercury poisoning include depression, memory problems, tremors, fatigue, headache, hair loss, etc. Since these symptoms are common also in other conditions, it may be difficult to diagnose such cases (Martin & Griswold, 2009). Due to the excess health effects associated with exposure to mercury, the present standard for drinking water has been set at lower levels of 0.002 mg/L and 0.001 mg/L by the Environmental Protection Act and World Health Organization (WHO, 2004).

Table 1

Types of mercuric toxicity.

Elemental mercury Methyl mercury Inorganic mercury
Sources Fossil fuels, dental amalgams, old latex paint, incinerators, thermometers Pesticides, fish, poultry Biological oxidation of mercury, demethylation of methyl mercury by intestinal microflora
Absorption 75–85% of vapor absorbed 95–100% absorbed in intestinal tract 7–15% of ingested dose absorbed and 2–3% dermal dose absorbed in animals
Distribution Distributed throughout the body, lipophilic, crosses blood-brain barrier and placental barrier, accumulates in brain and kidney Distributed throughout the body, lipophilic, readily crosses blood-brain barrier as well as placental barrier, accumulates in kidney and brain Does not cross blood-brain or placental barrier, present in brain neonates, accumulates in kidney
Excretion Sweat, urine, feces, and saliva 90% excreted in bile, feces, 10% in urine Sweat, saliva, urine and feces
Reason for toxicity Oxidation to inorganic mercury Demethylation to inorganic mercury, generation of free radical, binding to thiols in enzymes and structural proteins Binding to thiols in enzymes and structural proteins


Cadmium is a metal of the 20th century. It is a byproduct of zinc production. Soils and rocks, including coal and mineral fertilizers, contain some amount of cadmium. Cadmium has many applications, e.g. in batteries, pigments, plastics and metal coatings and is widely used in electroplating (Martin & Griswold, 2009). presents a relative contribution of different sources to human cadmium exposure (Regoli, 2005). Cadmium and its compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogens for humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Henson & Chedrese, 2004). Cadmium is released into the environment through natural activities such as volcanic eruptions, weathering, river transport and some human activities such as mining, smelting, tobacco smoking, incineration of municipal waste, and manufacture of fertilizers. Although cadmium emissions have been noticeably reduced in most industrialized countries, it is a remaining source of fear for workers and people living in the polluted areas. Cadmium can cause both acute and chronic intoxications (Chakraborty et al., 2013). Cadmium is highly toxic to the kidney and it accumulates in the proximal tubular cells in higher concentrations. Cadmium can cause bone mineralization either through bone damage or by renal dysfunction. Studies on humans and animals have revealed that osteoporosis (skeletal damage) is a critical effect of cadmium exposure along with disturbances in calcium metabolism, formation of renal stones and hypercalciuria. Inhaling higher levels of cadmium can cause severe damage to the lungs. If cadmium is ingested in higher amounts, it can lead to stomach irritation and result in vomiting and diarrhea. On very long exposure time at lower concentrations, it can become deposited in the kidney and finally lead to kidney disease, fragile bones and lung damage (Bernard, 2008). Cadmium and its compounds are highly water soluble compared to other metals. Their bioavailability is very high and hence it tends to bioaccumulate. Long-term exposure to cadmium can result in morphopathological changes in the kidneys. Smokers are more susceptible for cadmium intoxication than non-smokers. Tobacco is the main source of cadmium uptake in smokers as tobacco plants, like other plants, can accumulate cadmium from the soil. Non-smokers are exposed to cadmium via food and some other pathways. Yet cadmium uptake through other pathways is much lower (Mudgal et al., 2010). shows values of cadmium toxicity (Flora et al., 2008). Cadmium interacts with essential nutrients through which it causes its toxicity effects. Experimental analysis in animals has shown that 50% of cadmium gets absorbed in the lungs and less in the gastrointestinal tract. Premature birth and reduced birth weights are the issues that arise if cadmium exposure is high during human pregnancy (Henson & Chedrese, 2004).

A relative contribution of different sources to human cadmium exposure (Adapted from Regoli, 2005).

Values of cadmium toxicity (Adapted from Flora et al., 2008).


Chromium is present in rocks, soil, animals and plants. It can be solid, liquid, and in the form of gas. Chromium compounds are very much persistent in water sediments. They can occur in many different states such as divalent, four-valent, five-valent and hexavalent state. Cr(VI) and Cr(III) are the most stable forms and only their relation to human exposure is of high interest (Zhitkovich, 2005). Chromium(VI) compounds, such as calcium chromate, zinc chromates, strontium chromate and lead chromates, are highly toxic and carcinogenic in nature. Chromium (III), on the other hand, is an essential nutritional supplement for animals and humans and has an important role in glucose metabolism. The uptake of hexavalent chromium compounds through the airways and digestive tract is faster than that of trivalent chromium compounds. Occupational sources of chromium include protective metal coatings, metal alloys, magnetic tapes, paint pigments, rubber, cement, paper, wood preservatives, leather tanning and metal plating (Martin & Griswold, 2009). Schroeder et al. (1970) reported that cigarettes contained 390 g/kg of Cr, but there has been no significant report published on the amount of chromium inhaled through smoking. When broken skin comes in contact with any type of chromium compounds, a deeply penetrating hole will be formed. Exposure to chromium compounds can result in the formation of ulcers, which will persist for months and heal very slowly. Ulcers on the nasal septum are very common in case of chromate workers. Exposure to higher amounts of chromium compounds in humans can lead to the inhibition of erythrocyte glutathione reductase, which in turn lowers the capacity to reduce methemoglobin to hemoglobin (Koutras et al., 1965; Schlatter & Kissling, 1973). Results obtained from different in vitro and in vivo experiments have shown that chromate compounds can induce DNA damage in many different ways and can lead to the formation of DNA adducts, chromosomal aberrations, sister chromatid exchanges, alterations in replication and transcription of DNA (O’Brien et al., 2001; Matsumoto et al., 2006).


Aluminium is the third most common element found on the earth’s crust. It exists in only one oxidation state (3+) in the environment. The main routes of aluminium consumption by humans are through inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact and sources of exposure are drinking water, food, beverages, and aluminium containing drugs. Aluminium is naturally present in food. Aluminium and its compounds are poorly absorbed in humans, although the rate at which they get absorbed has not been clearly studied. Symptoms that indicate the presence of higher amounts of aluminium in the human body are nausea, mouth ulcers, skin ulcers, skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and arthritic pain. These symptoms have however been reported to be mild and short lived (Clayton, 1989). Aluminium exposure is probably a risk factor for the onset of Alzheimer disease (AD) in humans, as hypothesized by the WHO, 1997. Contact dermatitis and irritant dermatitis were seen in persons who were exposed to aluminium in their place of work. Aluminium showed adverse effects on the nervous system and resulted in loss of memory, problems with balance and loss of co-ordination (Krewski et al., 2009). People suffering from kidney diseases find it difficult to eliminate aluminium from the body, resulting in aluminium accumulation in the body leading to bone and brain damage. Some factors that would likely be the reason for the development of aluminium toxicity are life in dusty environments, long-term intravenous nutrition, diminished kidney function, hemodialysis, drinking or ingesting substances that are high in aluminium content, working in an environment that contains high levels of aluminium. Patients undergoing kidney dialysis may get exposed to aluminium present in contaminated dialysates and phosphate binders. Higher levels of aluminium exposure can change the evolution of secondary hyperparathyroidism, leading to other diseases such as aluminium-induced adynamic bone disease and aluminium-induced osteomalacia, both of which are characterized by low-bone remodeling (Andia, 1996). Some of the other complications associated with aluminium toxicity are lung problems, anemia, impaired iron absorption, nervous system problems, etc.


Iron is the most abundant transition metal in the earth’s crust. Biologically it is the most important nutrient for most living creatures as it is the cofactor for many vital proteins and enzymes. Iron mediated reactions support most of the aerobic organisms in their respiration process. If it is not shielded properly, it can catalyze the reactions involving the formation of radicals which can damage biomolecules, cells, tissues and the whole organism. Iron poisoning has always been a topic of interest mainly to pediatricians. Children are highly susceptible to iron toxicity as they are exposed to a maximum of iron-containing products (Albretsen, 2006). Iron toxicosis occurs in four stages. The first stage which occurs after 6 hrs of iron overdose is marked by gastrointestinal effects such as gastro intestinal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea (Osweiler et al., 1985). The second stage progresses within 6 to 24hrs of overdose and it is considered as the latent period, a period of apparent medical recovery. The third stage occurs between 12 to 96 hrs after the onset of certain clinical symptoms. This stage is characterized by shocks, hypotension, lethargy, tachycardia, hepatic necrosis, metabolic acidosis and sometimes death (Hillman, 2001). The fourth stage occurs within 2–6 weeks of iron overdose. This stage is marked by the formation of gastrointestinal ulcerations and development of strictures. Excess iron uptake is a serious problem in developed and meat eating countries and it increases the risk of cancer. Workers who are highly exposed to asbestos that contains almost 30% of iron are at high risk of asbestosis, which is the second most important cause for lung cancer (Nelson, 1992). It is said that asbestos associated cancer is linked to free radicals. Loose intracellular iron can also promote DNA damage. Iron can initiate cancer mainly by the process of oxidation of DNA molecules (Bhasin et al., (2002). Iron salts such as iron sulfate, iron sulfate monohydrate and iron sulfate heptahydrate are of low acute toxicity when exposure is through oral, dermal and inhalation routes and hence they have been placed in toxicity category 3. Furthermore, iron salts are considered to be safe by the Food and Drug Administration and their toxic effects are very much negligible. Formation of free radicals is the outcome of iron toxicity (Ryan & Aust, 1992). During normal and pathological cell processing, byproducts such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide are formed, which are considered to be free radicals (Fine, 2000). These free radicals are actually neutralized by enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase but the superoxide molecule has the ability to release iron from ferritin and that free iron reacts with more and more of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide forming highly toxic free radicals such as hydroxyl radical (McCord, 1998). Hydroxyl radicals are dangerous as they can inactivate certain enzymes, initiate lipid peroxidation, depolymerize polysaccharides and can cause DNA strand breaks. This can sometimes result in cell death (Hershko et al.,

4 Top Ways You Can Be Exposed To Three Dangerous Heavy Metals – Blog

Surprising as it may seem, your body contains various metals and metal-like elements. For example, metals like mercury, arsenic, and cadmium – which are known as “heavy metals” – can accumulate in the body through different routes of exposure.

Unlike many chemical elements – such as iodine – these 3 metals (mercury, arsenic, and cadmium) offer no benefit to the body. Instead, these heavy metals can be very toxic – disrupting, for instance, many important systems in the body (like the nervous system).

However, there are ways you can minimize the negative health effects of these menacing metals. For instance, by monitoring heavy metal levels in your body with EverlyWell’s at-home Heavy Metals Test – you can know your levels and take any appropriate steps based off our results.

One other thing you can do to keep your heavy metal levels in check: learn about the different sources of exposure to these metals.

So, to that end, here are 4 of the top ways you can be exposed to some of the most dangerous heavy metals.


Various types of fish have relatively high mercury levels – such as tuna, halibut, carp, and tilefish.

Heavy metals are found in many environments throughout the world – and are distributed across the planet by rain water, pesticides, chemical spills, and more. As a result of their widespread presence, heavy metals can sneak their way into the food supply.

Consider, for example, the following scenario: seawater that contains some mercury is ingested by plankton (microscopic organisms like algae and tiny crustaceans). Consequently, the mercury enters the bodies of the plankton. Fish then come along and snack on the plankton for sustenance – which means that the mercury is now taken up by the organs and cells of the fish. Mercury has thus become a part of the food chain that humans consume (since people eat fish).

So, as this scenario shows, the food you eat is one major way you can be exposed to mercury. Various types of fish, for example, have relatively high mercury levels – such as tuna, halibut, carp, and tilefish.

Food is also a primary source of exposure to arsenic. In the United States, most dietary exposure to arsenic comes from consumption of meats, poultry, and fish. Algae and seaweed can also contain fairly high amounts of arsenic, and a seaweed known as “hijiki” can have an especially high concentration of arsenic. And take note if you tend to relish rice-based dishes: growing rice plants, it turns out, can accumulate a dangerous amount of arsenic from the soil.


You can safely drink from many water sources throughout the United States. However, that’s not always the case, since high concentrations of arsenic have been detected in the groundwater of some U.S. states.

You can safely drink from many water sources throughout the United States. However, that’s not always the case, since high concentrations of arsenic have been detected in some groundwater of states like California, Montana, Nevada, and Texas. In fact, groundwater in the United States with high amounts of arsenic can have more than 50 micrograms of arsenic per liter of water – well above the EPA’s maximum acceptable amount of 10 micrograms per liter for public water systems.

If you’d like your drinking water tested for arsenic, it’s recommended that you contact an EPA-certified drinking water laboratory in your state. And if you discover that there are indeed toxic levels of arsenic in your drinking water, reach out to your local health department promptly to learn the next steps you should take.


Smoking can expose you to toxic chemicals like cadmium – a dangerous heavy metal that can disrupt the brain’s levels of various neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and norepinephrine).

Cigarette smoke is filled with many toxic chemicals – one of which happens to be a dangerous heavy metal that goes by the name “cadmium.” Chronic exposure to cadmium can harm your body in several ways. For example, it can disrupt the brain’s levels of various neurotransmitters – like serotonin and norepinephrine. Excessive cadmium exposure can also have severe carcinogenic effects on the body – and damage your cells’ DNA strands.


After analyzing a wide range of cosmetic products over the years, researchers have discovered that many of them contain trace amounts of heavy metals like arsenic.

Not all makeup products are as harmless as their attractive packaging might suggest. After analyzing a wide range of cosmetic products over the years, researchers have discovered that many of them contain trace amounts of heavy metals like arsenic.

Do note, however, that whether or not arsenic-containing cosmetics can harm your well-being depends on a number of factors. For example, how much arsenic is in the product (some makeup products have no arsenic at all, others have only a trace amount, and some have high concentrations of this chemical), how often the product is applied to the skin, and so on.

Incidentally, heavy metals like arsenic – when applied to the skin – can be absorbed into the bloodstream and build up in the body over time. This can eventually harm some of the body’s organs.

Of course, that could raise a question like: “How do I know if arsenic or other toxic heavy metals have infiltrated my favorite makeup products?”

Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to determine that without a laboratory analysis of the product. However, the good news is that it’s pretty easy to check if your body has harmful levels of arsenic by simply taking EverlyWell’s at-home Heavy Metals Test.


Some of the most dangerous heavy metals – mercury, arsenic, and cadmium – can be found in rather unexpected places, like cosmetic products and the food you eat. So if you suspect that heavy metals are harming your well-being, take EverlyWell’s Heavy Metals Test to find out if your body has toxic levels of these chemicals.

The Effects of Toxic Levels of Metals in the Human Body: Jonathan W. Singer, DO: Functional & Alternative Medicine

Humans are nothing if not creative, as witnessed by the evolution of our world from one where stone chisels were an advanced technology to today, where we have massive machinery that produces everything from ice cream to cars. 

All of this was fueled by heavy metals found in the natural world — we just concentrated and combined them for our needs. Unfortunately, this has led to levels of toxicity that affect humans and the planet we live on.

At HealthFirst, Dr. Jonathan W. Singer and our team specialize in heavy metal poisoning, which can have a widespread impact on your body. We offer chelation therapy to help our patients regain their health.

To give you a better idea about the effect of toxic metals, we’ve pulled together what you need to know about heavy metals and the human body and what we can do about toxic levels of metals.

Heavy metals: Too much of a good thing

The human body requires small amounts of heavy metals like zinc, copper, and iron. We get these metals mainly through our diet. Unfortunately, we’ve created a world where these metals surround us in our homes, at work, and wherever there’s human activity. 

Over time, you may gradually absorb the metals in your environment. This can lead to dangerously high levels of toxins in your system that can cause damage in your:

  • Lungs
  • Brain
  • Musculoskeletal structure
  • Major organs like your kidneys or liver
  • Blood
  • Metabolic system
  • Gastrointestinal tract

Research into the effect of heavy metals on the human body is ongoing, but studies suggest that heavy metal poisoning can lead to declining physical, muscular, and neurological functions, as well as some cancers.

The primary heavy metal culprits

Of the many metals that are found in our world, there are 23 that are of particular concern. Some of the more common are:

  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Iron
  • Aluminum
  • Nickel

These metals are commonly found in your environment and can be absorbed through your skin, inhaled, or eaten.

Recognizing heavy metal poisoning

The effects that heavy metal poisoning can have on your body are wide ranging and depend on the metals you’re exposed to. Symptoms range from chronic fatigue to gastrointestinal issues. If you have a medical complaint that you’ve yet to find an answer for, it’s absolutely worth taking a deeper dive into heavy metals to see if they play a role. 

At our practice, we perform extensive and exhaustive evaluations of our patients to determine if heavy metals are to blame for their declines in health.

If we find evidence of toxic poisoning at the hands of heavy metal, we turn to chelation therapy, an IV therapy that flushes the toxins from your body. As an added bonus, we also add antioxidants and important vitamins and nutrients to your IV therapy to further boost your health.

To find out if your health is impacted by heavy metal poisoning and receive chelation therapy, call one of our locations in Greenwood Village, Colorado, or Cheyenne, Wyoming, or book an appointment online today.

The Impacts of Heavy Metal Toxicity

If you have any of the following symptoms, then heavy metal toxicity could be affecting your health:

  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Infertility
  • Mental “fogginess”
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Deteriorating eye health
  • Memory problems
  • Poor kidney function
  • Digestive problems
  • Tingling sensations in the hands, feet, and/or around the mouth
  • Poor immune function (recurrent infections, an autoimmune disease)

Multiple heavy metals exist in the earth’s crust, and the myriad undertakings of human activities results in practically everyone being exposed to these elements in the air, water, and food supply. Thorne’s Heavy Metals Test provides insights about levels of heavy metals and essential elements in your body.

As long ago as 2007, the World Health Organization stated that heavy metals accumulated in the environment, “. . . are associated to different degrees with a wide range of conditions, including kidney and bone damage, developmental and neuro-behavioral disorders, elevated blood pressure, and potentially even lung cancer.”

The heavy metals in the environment that are most commonly found to be linked to adverse health problems include:

  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Arsenic

Mercury is a silvery, metallic, very malleable, liquid element (think Robert Patrick’s T-1000 character from the Terminator 2 movie) that is very toxic, even in extremely small amounts. Mercury is ubiquitous in the environment, partly due to the 50 tons of it being released into the atmosphere annually in the United States (yes, that’s 100,000 POUNDS every year) from burning coal in coal-fired power plants.

The mercury vapor in the air can be inhaled, but it also falls to the earth with precipitation, contaminating streams, rivers, lakes, and ultimately the oceans. Bacteria in these bodies of water change what is called “inorganic” mercury into “organic” methylmercury. The cascading problem that results is that methylmercury is far more readily absorbed into the body than is inorganic mercury.

So, when we eat fish, shellfish, and other species from bodies of water containing methylmercury, we can become toxic.

Mercury is also found in dental amalgams – “silver fillings” – that dentists have used for over a century to repair cavities. Dental amalgams are usually one-half mercury, with the remainder consisting of silver and tin. When we chew or drink hot beverages, a small amount of mercury vapor from a filling can be released, which we then inhale and absorb.

Mercury has been used in vaccines as a preservative, such as in the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, although this is a practice that has largely been eliminated by the pharmaceutical companies. The brain and nervous system are especially sensitive to long-term mercury exposure, and babies are the most sensitive to mercury’s negative health effects.

Lead is less ubiquitous in the environment than mercury is, mostly because lead is no longer being used as an additive in gasoline. Lead is also no longer being used as a paint additive. But homes built prior to the 1978 ban can still contain some lead-based paint.

Removing lead-containing paint without using the proper personal protective equipment can result in lead toxicity (this author, although embarrassed to admit it, did just that many years ago). Lead is still being used in the manufacture of car batteries. And individuals can also come in contact with lead from old lead water pipes or the lead solder used to weld copper water pipes.

The soil and water in areas where mining activities have taken place can become very contaminated with lead. Children growing up in these areas are the most vulnerable to lead’s harmful effects, which can result in serious developmental delays, nervous system damage, and even death.

Used in battery manufacturing and other industries, cadmium exposure can damage the kidneys, lungs, and liver. Like mercury, lead, and the mineral zinc, cadmium occurs in the earth’s crust and occurs naturally in ores with lead and zinc.

Tobacco smoking will expose a smoker to cadmium, because the tobacco plant will concentrate cadmium in the environment, such as from soil. Rice also tends to accumulate cadmium as well, especially if the rice is grown in areas that formerly grew tobacco, as in some areas in the southeastern United States.

Arsenic is present in the environment from agricultural runoff, cigarette smoke, and its former use in pressure-treated wood. Chronic exposure to arsenic can initiate cancers, cognitive dysfunction, diabetes, and heart and lung damage.

What Do We Do About Heavy Metal Toxicity?
Before starting any sort of treatment for heavy metal toxicity, it is imperative that you first talk to your health-care practitioner and have some testing done to determine, if indeed, you do have heavy metal toxicity AND the extent of that toxicity.

After making the necessary lifestyle changes to prevent further exposure, and undergoing the treatment you and your health-care practitioner agree on, make sure you do follow-up testing after a sufficient interval recommended by your practitioner so you can determine how well the treatment is working.

How is Heavy Metal Toxicity Treated?
Some health-care practitioners recommend the use of pharmaceutical methods, including substances that bind to – or chelate – the heavy metal and hasten its removal from the body. These include substances such as DMSA, DMPS, and EDTA. These chelating agents can be effective, but they must be used in conjunction with a practitioner’s consultation to make sure they don’t cause side effects.

Other practitioners utilize nutrient cofactors or botanical extracts that can either bolster the body’s normal and natural ability to eliminate these toxins, or to bind to the heavy metals to facilitate their elimination. These cofactors and nutrients can include substances that have minimal research, like cilantro and chlorella, as well as other substances that are commonly contaminated with heavy metals themselves, like zeolites.

Other nutrients found to be helpful in this regard include modified citrus pectin, lipoic acid, and sodium alginate.

Thorne’s Heavy Metals Test provides insights about levels of heavy metals and essential elements in your body

Chelation Therapy | Michigan Medicine

Topic Overview

What is chelation therapy?

Chelation therapy is a chemical process in which a synthetic solution—EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid)—is injected into the bloodstream to remove heavy metals and/or minerals from the body. Chelation means “to grab” or “to bind.” When EDTA is injected into the veins, it “grabs” heavy metals and minerals such as lead, mercury, copper, iron, arsenic, aluminum, and calcium and removes them from the body. Except as a treatment for lead poisoning, chelation therapy is controversial and unproved.

Chelation therapy is performed on an outpatient basis.

What is chelation therapy used for?

Chelation is a very effective way to treat heavy-metal poisoning. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved prescription chelation therapy for the treatment of lead poisoning. Injected EDTA binds with the harmful metal and both are then eliminated from the body through the kidneys.

Some health professionals have also used chelation therapy to treat atherosclerosis and/or coronary artery disease , although there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that this treatment is effective. Some people believe that EDTA binds with calcium deposits (the part of plaque that obstructs the flow of blood to the heart) in the arteries, and then EDTA “cleans out” the calcium deposits from the arteries, reducing the risk of heart problems. Research results have been inconsistent. Chelation therapy should not replace lifestyle changes or standard treatments for coronary artery disease.

Some health professionals also suspect that EDTA may act as an antioxidant by removing metals that combine with LDL cholesterol , which can damage arteries. The theory is that when you remove metals that flow freely through arteries (such as copper or calcium), you may slow down diseases such as atherosclerosis. Research has not proved this theory. Some experts believe that EDTA could remove calcium from healthy bones, muscles, and other tissues, as well as from diseased arteries.

Many people report less pain from chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis , lupus , and scleroderma after chelation therapy. The theory is that EDTA acts as an antioxidant, which protects the body from inflammation and protects blood vessels. Again, this idea has not been proved by scientific research.

Is chelation therapy safe?

Children, pregnant women, and people who have heart or kidney failure should not have chelation therapy at any dose.

Many years ago, chelation therapy was given in high doses and may have been linked to kidney damage, irregular heartbeats, and other serious consequences. Even when this treatment is given in low doses, some negative effects may occur, including high blood pressure , headache, rash, low blood sugar, and/or thrombophlebitis .

EDTA may remove vital minerals from the body along with the toxic metals. Vitamins and minerals are added to the EDTA solution to help keep them at an optimal level in the body to maintain health.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

Heavy metal toxicity | DermNet NZ

Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2005.

What are the heavy metals?

Heavy metals are chemical elements that are commonly found in our environment. Without realising it all people are exposed to heavy metals on a daily basis. However, the quantities that we inhale, ingest or come into contact with the skin are so small that they are usually harmless. In fact, small amounts of some heavy metals in our diet are essential to good health. These are referred to as trace elements and include iron, copper, manganese, zinc, plus others, which are commonly found naturally in fruits and vegetables.

Toxic heavy metals and routes of exposure

Toxic heavy metals are heavy metals that become poisonous to the body when they are not metabolised or excreted and so accumulate in organs and tissues. They enter the human body through food, water, air, or absorption through the skin. Routes of exposure are described below.

Industrial exposure is the usual route of exposure for adults. Several heavy metals are used or produced as a by-product in many agricultural, manufacturing and pharmaceutical processes.


  • Smelting process of copper, zinc and lead
  • Manufacture of chemicals and glass
  • Pesticides, fungicides, paints, rat poison, wood preservatives


  • Pipes, drains, and soldering materials
  • Old lead-based painted houses and furniture that has started to flake, chip, chalk and dust
  • Battery manufacturing
  • Fuel additives, PVC plastics, crystal glass production, pencils and pesticides


  • Mining operations, chloralkali plants, paper industries
  • Thermometers, vaccines
  • Skin lightening products


  • Mining and smelting of lead and zinc
  • Nickel-cadmium batteries, PVC plastics, paint pigments
  • Insecticides, fungicides, sludge and fertilisers


  • Silver mining, refining, silverware and metal alloy manufacturing, metallic films on glass electroplating solutions, photographic processing
  • Colloidal silver dietary supplements, silver salts in nasal/eye drops, irrigations and wound dressings


  • Dietary iron supplements
  • Drinking water, iron pipes and cookware


The most common route of exposure to heavy metals in children is through accidental ingestion. Toxic levels of heavy metals can develop through the regular hand-to-mouth activity of small children who play in contaminated soils or eat/chew on objects that are not food, such as bark chips, dirt or painted objects.

Signs and symptoms of heavy metal toxicity

Signs and symptoms of toxicity depend on the heavy metal involved and whether an exposure causes acute toxicity or chronic and subtle effects.

Signs and symptoms of acute toxicity

  • Severe, rapid in onset
  • Cramping, nausea, vomiting, pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Convulsions
  • Skin rash

Signs and symptoms of chronic exposure

  • Develop slowly over months or years
  • Skin changes
  • Impaired cognitive, motor and language skills
  • Nausea, lethargy, malaise
  • Insomnia
  • Emotional instability

The heavy metals that cause the most significant skin changes and are discussed in more detail include arsenic, silver, gold and mercury.



  • Book: Textbook of Dermatology. Ed Rook A, Wilkinson DS, Ebling FJB, Champion RH, Burton JL. Fourth edition. Blackwell Scientific Publications.

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How to Avoid the Contamination of Heavy Metals?

Tips to prevent heavy metal contamination

Heavy metals – omnipresent and frequently underestimated

Traces of heavy metals can be found throughout nature. Although some of them – the so-called essential trace elements such as iron, zinc, selenium or iodine – are vital for our organism in small quantities, most heavy metals are harmful to our health.

Heavy metals are particularly a concern to pregnant and breastfeeding women since they can pass through both the placenta and breastmilk. Weaning babies and toddlers are also at risk because heavy metals have increasingly been found in commercial foods targeted at them — both organic and non-organic.

Other ways we may be in contact with such harmful substances are unfortunately through our diet, the surface of our skin, and our body’s mucous membranes. Substances such as lead, arsenic, cadmium or mercury may also reach our body through the elevated concentrations in water or air resulting from industrial processes and environmental pollution.

How can you reduce your risk of exposure to such heavy metals?

Human activity has led to an increase in heavy metals in the environment. As a result, the risks of heavy metal exposure for humans, as well as all land and sea animals, have also increased.

Although we can hardly escape heavy metals in our everyday life, there are a few ways to deliberately avoid exposure to these harmful substances:

Consume wild mushrooms with caution

Mushrooms store heavy metals that accumulate in the soil, especially in industrial areas. For example, wild-harvested button mushrooms or birch boletes can have elevated levels of cadmium, while porcini mushrooms may contain high levels of lead or mercury. It is therefore advisable to remove the outer peel of such mushrooms (the so-called pileipellis) before cooking or consumption.

Avoid cosmetics containing aluminium, such as deodorants

Heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury and aluminium etc. can easily be found in makeup products, skincare products, and nail polishes. These unsuspecting products can make the average woman easily exposed to heavy metals on a daily basis.

While most commercial deodorants without added aluminium salts only prevent sweaty body odour – some of these antiperspirants that contain aluminium go as far as reducing or even preventing body perspiration.

Although that guarantees us dry armpits, the additive is not without risk: aluminium clogs the pores, which can lead to skin irritation. Moreover, it can enter the body through injured skin (e.g. after shaving) and contribute to the development of serious diseases such as breast cancer.

Avoid beverages in aluminium cans

Beverage cans are coated on the inside to prevent the content from coming into contact with aluminium. However, this coating contains the industrial chemical BPA, which can be released into the food under certain circumstances.

Studies have shown that people who consumed beverages from aluminium cans had high blood pressure within a few hours. (Source: RP Online). This could be critical for individuals with pre-existing health conditions – one more reason to stick with tried-and-true glass bottles.

Ceramic dental fillings instead of amalgam

Although dental fillings made from heavy-metal amalgam offer certain benefits, such as antibacterial effects, they also have serious drawbacks, since the amalgam will slowly dissolve with time.

After about 10 years, such dental fillings only contain half of the mercury, as a big part will have been absorbed by the body. It is not recommended, however, to have intact amalgam fillings removed because the process of drilling will release even more mercury. Instead, invest in dental fillings made from plastic or ceramic in the future.

Give preference to organic foods

Since the use of chemical-synthetic pesticides is banned in organic farming, the resulting food items contain more antioxidants and fewer heavy metals than conventional products. On average, organic food has 68% less cadmium. A healthy diet based on organic foods, therefore, has a positive effect on long-term health. Nevertheless, fine dust contained in the air can deposit substances such as lead on food items – never forget to thoroughly wash your fruit and vegetables.


For persons with poor gut health, i.e. a leaky gut, heavy metals coming from a food source can easily penetrate into their bloodstream via the leaky gut. Eventually, this will allow the heavy metals to travel to our tissues, cells, and also to the brain, which may potentially cause mental health issues.

Avoid excessive amounts of seafood

Mercury is commonly discovered in large, predatory fish. This is because these fishes tend to live longer than smaller organisms, where mercury ingestion and absorption often originate in the ocean. Some of the most at-risk fish for mercury contamination include tuna, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, and tilefish as they are at the top of the marine food chain.

Besides, these species tend to live relatively long, which means that they accumulate more mercury than other species throughout their lives.

Consume such seafood only occasionally as part of a balanced diet.

Use water filters

As a result of industrial processing and environmental contamination, heavy metals often accumulate in the groundwater, and therefore in the human body in larger concentrations.

Water pipes, especially in older buildings, are also frequently made of lead or copper. Do filter water from the tap before drinking in all cases to avoid excessive intake of these harmful substances into your body.

If you’ve found these tips useful, share them with a loved one today.

At Miskwaan Health Group, we offer a quick hand-held, non-invasive test for you to check the level of heavy metals and minerals in your body – with results available immediately. Should you be interested to learn more about this test, click here.

To eliminate these heavy metals from your body, we also offer Chelation Therapy that feature the removal of toxic heavy metals from the body using chelating agents, which are then excreted from the body naturally.  Learn more about this therapy here.

Make an appointment

To make an appointment to see our doctors, please select “Doctor Consultation” in the field below, and click on your preferred clinic, date, and time. To make an appointment for Heavy Metals & Minerals Testing, please select this field in our booking system below.

For other enquiries of our services, kindly send us an email at [email protected] (Hong Kong clinic) or [email protected] (Bangkok clinic).


90,000 WRONG: COVID-19 vaccines contain heavy metals that work like chips

Checking fakes in partnership with Facebook

The network is spreading information that the vaccines allegedly contain metals in the form of nanoparticles, which are launched into the body and which work on the same principle as chips. They also say that at the airport, customs officers checked the man with a device that allegedly shows the presence of heavy metals that are found in vaccines against COVID-19.

However, in COVID-19 vaccines, there are no heavy metals that work like chips.

We have previously refuted claims about nanoparticles-chips in vaccines. Wilbur Chen, an infectious disease scientist at the University of Maryland’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, argues that even the smallest microchips are “so large that none will ever fit into a vaccine needle.”

Three COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen have now been approved for emergency use in the United States.In the EU, in addition to those already indicated, the vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca is approved for emergency use. In Ukraine, only the vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca has been registered so far, although it is planned to vaccinate also with vaccines from Sinovac Biotech, Pfizer-BioNTech and Novavax.

The composition of each of the vaccines approved for emergency use in the US and EU can be read at links:

Speculation about heavy metals arises from the fact that adjuvants are sometimes used in vaccines, and among them there are adjuvants aluminum and thiomersal (a mercury compound).

The use of adjuvants generally allows fewer vaccines and fewer doses to be administered. VoxCheck explained more about adjuvants here. The main thing is that adjuvants do not harm the human body and do not entail serious illness .

However, vaccines against COVID-19 – at least those approved for emergency use in the EU and the US – do not have an aluminum adjuvant. Russian Sputnik V also does not contain aluminum adjuvant.Similar information about the presence of aluminum in vaccines against COVID-19 has already been commented on by independent fact checkers from AP News.

Chinese vaccines from Sinovac and Sinopharm, Indian Covaxin and Russian EpiVacCorona contain an aluminum salt (aluminum hydroxide). But the presence of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines does not mean that they are dangerous.

Aluminum salts such as aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate and aluminum-potassium sulfate have been used safely in vaccines for over 70 years and do not pose a health hazard.In addition, the main sources of aluminum for humans are food, water and air. The total amount of aluminum in vaccines that babies receive in the first 6 months of life is actually much less than that obtained from food, in particular breast milk and formula. The amount of aluminum supplied both with vaccines and with food does not exceed the established safe dose .

Aluminum adjuvant can cause more pronounced local reactions – redness, swelling and pain at the injection site, or more systemic reactions – fever, chills, body pain than vaccines without an adjuvant in the composition.Aluminum adjuvants are used in vaccines against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria and tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and pneumococcal vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines – at least those approved for emergency use in the EU and the US – do not contain thimerosal.

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines that are supplied in multi-dose vials. Thimerosal has been used safely in vaccines for over 80 years (since 2001 – except for childhood vaccines).Thimerosal helps prevent the growth of microbes such as bacteria and fungi.

Thimerosal does not stay in the body for a long time, so it does not accumulate and does not reach harmful levels. There is no evidence of harm from low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, only minor reactions are possible, such as redness and swelling at the injection site. There are two types of mercury that humans are exposed to: methylmercury and ethylmercury. Ethylmercury is used in vaccines, which does not accumulate in organs and does not harm health.

90,000 Heavy metals in the body

Symptoms and even chronic illnesses associated with heavy metal poisoning are now considered a problem facing millions of people.
Exposure to toxic heavy metals is believed to be a factor, if not the underlying cause, of symptoms such as weakness, mood disturbances and cognitive changes. Heavy metals first enter your bloodstream from farmed fish, contaminated water, toothpastes, and household products.They then travel throughout the body and enter the cells of various tissues and organs, where they can be stored for many years! Heavy metals are elements that can be toxic and very dangerous even at low concentrations: mercury, mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, nickel, uranium, thallium, and others.

Heavy metal poisoning causes a number of health problems. According to the World Science Journal report, “toxic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are ubiquitous, have no beneficial role in human homeostasis, and contribute to non-infectious chronic diseases.”Mercury, for example, destroys the nerve sheath, causing impairment in the conduction of nerve signals.
Researchers have determined that significant exposure to at least 23 different metals can contribute to acute or chronic toxicity. These metals are described as heavy because they build up in the body, especially hiding in adipose tissue. It is difficult for the body to get rid of them. Body fat tries to protect organs by storing certain substances inside, including metals. This is one reason weight loss can sometimes lead to heavy metal detoxification as fat cells shrink and release dormant toxins.

Where do heavy metals come from?
– Exposure to environmental pollutants such as vehicle vapors, air pollution, food contamination, cigarette smoke or radiation.
– Eating low-quality products, especially farmed and marine fish with a high content of mercury, as well as products grown in soil with a high metal content.
– Drinking water contaminated with traces of metals (e.g. aluminum).
– From birth (heavy metals can be transmitted directly from mother to child).
– Exposure to or use of household substances such as air filters, cosmetics, fabric softeners, felts, floor waxes and polishes, and talcum powder.
– Tattoos.
– Exposure to lead-containing substances such as chocolate, canned food, toothpastes, old paints, insecticides, ceramics.
– Use or exposure to other household items such as aluminum and non-stick cookware, antiperspirants, plastic toys, aluminum foil, stainless steel cutlery, coins and certain cosmetics.
– Possibly getting certain vaccinations.

What are the signs and symptoms of heavy metal poisoning?
● Chronic fatigue
● Autoimmune diseases, including Lyme disease
● Neurological disorders
● Decreased brain activity, poor concentration, learning difficulties and poor memory
● Depression, manic depression and / or anxiety
● Dementia
● Insomnia
● Digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome
● Impaired body coordination, impairment of hearing, speech, vision and gait
● Anemia
● Higher risk of heart attacks.

If you have reason to believe you have metal poisoning, it is best to have a medical test for metal poisoning. Heavy metal testing, in the form of a hair test or blood test, is widely available and useful in confirming suspicious toxicity. In our clinic, all the necessary analyzes of this type are done.

Hijama will help get rid of heavy metals in the body »Tedaviler

Hijama will help get rid of heavy metals in the body

Dr.Parvin AI

Heavy metals (mercury, lead, copper, chromium, etc.) are known industrial pollutants. We swallow and inhale them literally everywhere: with food, tap water, exhaust fumes, tobacco smoke, household chemicals, dental fillings. Heavy metals are toxic and can be harmful to health. For example, aluminum intoxication is observed in renal failure. The accumulation of mercury in the body can lead to autism. Lead reduces intelligence, while silver slows growth.

But how to remove heavy metals from the body? Hijama can help.

The team of the Faculty of Medicine of Turgut Ozal University (Ankara) together with the Institute of Health and Science (Indonesia) carried out clinical work and scientifically proved that heavy metals can be removed from the body with the help of therapeutic bloodletting.

The study involved 24 volunteers (13 women and 11 men) aged 21 to 40 years. All of them at that time did not have chronic and infectious diseases.Objective of the study: to compare venous and hijam blood in terms of the content of heavy metals in it, namely aluminum (Al), lead (Pl), mercury (Hg) and silver (Ag).

Before performing the hijama, venous blood was taken from the volunteers for analysis. Bloodletting was performed at 5 points in the neck, back and thoracic region. After the procedure, the blood remaining in the vacuum banks was also analyzed. Heavy metal levels were measured with a mass spectrometer (İCP-MS).

I will not describe all the subtleties of clinical work.I will only say about the results. The content of the selected metals in hijam blood was much higher than in venous blood, which showed an acceptable amount of metals, i.e. the norm. The level of lead was 9 times higher, mercury – 8 times, silver and aluminum – 2 times. This proves that with the help of hijama it is really possible to cleanse the body of toxic heavy metals, and, therefore, prevent many diseases.

In preparing this article, the material “Is it possible to remove heavy metal from the body by wet cupping therapy? “In the İndian journal of traditional knowledge (october 2016).

Is it possible to remove heavy metals from the body by wet cupping therapy (Al-hijamah)?

90,000 24 ways to rid your body of heavy metals, pesticides, metabolic waste and other pollutants


If you are constantly feeling depressed, tired, irritated, unable to lose weight, then most likely you are suffering from the onslaught of environmental toxins that greedy monopoly corporations have filled the air, water and soil with.Even if you are not sure that you are suffering from an overload of toxins, you are at least not immune from the effects of oil and chemical pollution of the environment or even radiation. Even everyday items like shampoo or carpet cleaner contain thousands of chemicals that are deadly in large quantities. Here are more than two dozen ways to cleanse your body of these dangerous contaminants:

1 . Help your stomach and gallbladder by eating beets.Beets are a valuable source of iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, which help the body to rid itself of hazardous substances. It is also rich in vitamins B3, B6, C, and beta-carotene, important nutrients for the liver and gallbladder to produce bile acids, which aid in cleansing.

2. Drink plenty of purified water. Water is one of the most important self-purification pathways on the planet. It helps every cell to get rid of waste and allows our body to flush out toxins in urine and through the intestines, as well as through the skin through sweat.

3. Bath with kaolin clay as it is considered the best way to detoxify the body of pesticides.

4. Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy products, as GMO foods are common in animal diets.

5. Consume more panthenin, which is a biologically active form of vitamin B5 that helps the body get rid of the obstacles caused by pesticide consumption.When our body is too loaded with pesticides, it can no longer get rid of them on its own.

6. Use activated carbon. It is perfectly safe to consume 20-30 grams per day with purified water. Activated charcoal binds pesticides and other toxins and then flushes them out through the intestines to cleanse the body. After you’ve consumed charcoal, you can eat some molasses to make sure that you are missing important minerals that the charcoal may have sucked out of your body in the process of removing unwanted toxins.

7. Eat more citrus fruits. The pectins they contain are very powerful cleansing agents. Citrus fruits rid the body of heavy metals, leaving all the important trace elements.

8. Create an alkaline environment in your body by consuming more fruits and vegetables – this will support multiple cleansing channels in your body.

9. Eat more fiber. When we consume fiber, it is much easier for the liver to remove toxins from the body through the digestive system, and we take a huge burden on the organ that is constantly trying to rid the body of toxic substances.High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, potatoes, etc.

10. Eat more grapefruit containing naringenin, a special flavonoid that helps the liver burn fat instead of storing toxins in fat cells.

11. Eating garlic can help increase detoxification as it helps increase the number of white blood cells (lymphocytes), which are also an important part of the immune system.

12. Consuming asparagus can help reduce pesticide levels in the body.

13. Eating eggs can also help in removing toxins from the body. They also increase energy levels.

14. Increasing your vitamin C levels is very beneficial for you and for detoxifying your body: this vitamin has been found to help reduce radiation exposure.

15. Sarsaparil has been added to teas and tinctures for thousands of years to effectively cleanse the blood. It also effectively treats liver, kidney and skin conditions.

16. Sports and an active lifestyle are essential if you want to prevent harmful impurities from entering your body. Just 30 minutes a day will deliver oxygenated blood to the liver and kidneys, thereby helping to cleanse the body.

17. Our skin is larger than all other detoxifying organs.It covers about 6.7 square meters, and skin cells are renewed every day. A dry brush is a great option for helping the skin to cleanse through sweat, while washing, etc. If your pores are clogged, your skin will function less efficiently. Brushing promotes lymph flow, which helps flush toxins from the body.

18 . Use milk thistle. It will provide tremendous support to your liver. Over the years, this herb has helped cleanse the human body and has been linked to improving conditions for certain cancers, diabetes, and even easing digestive upset.

19. Essiac tea helps to cleanse the body and also has anti-cancer properties. It helps the body get rid of pesticides used in genetically modified foods and when spraying plants.

20. Eat sea vegetables. Algin, found in seaweed, helps to flush toxins from the gastrointestinal tract, so they are easier for the body to eliminate. In addition, a large amount of trace elements helps to cleanse the blood.

21. Consumption of dandelion leaves and root can help detoxify the body due to its high levels of antioxidants, as well as help relieve liver edema.

22. Add broccoli to salads for detoxifying agents. In addition, seedlings contain up to 20 times more of these substances than an adult plant.

23. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil will help detoxify the body as they are rich in fiber and Omega-3.

24. Include turmeric in your recipes. This root is often used to treat diseases of the liver and gastrointestinal tract, and, of course, it is excellent for cleansing the body.

Heavy metals and their effect on the body

Now everyone knows about the large-scale pollution of the environment with harmful and toxic substances. After all, it is no secret to anyone that the atmosphere of industrial cities is polluted by emissions of heavy metals.They are present in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the soil, where they are accumulated by the roots of plants and get into the cycle of substances in nature. That is why toxic substances can be found in everything that surrounds us: in food, cosmetics, interior items, etc.

Are All Metals Dangerous?

Metals such as iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, in small quantities, play a physiological role: they participate in biological processes and are necessary for the proper functioning of plants, animals and humans.They participate in the process of photosynthesis and assimilation of nitrogen by plants, promotes the synthesis of sugar, proteins, starch, vitamins.

What is the toxicity?

Heavy metals and their compounds have a toxic effect on the human body, causing a number of diseases. Some metals can accumulate for a long time in certain organs and tissues.


Excessive intake of cadmium into the body can lead to anemia, liver damage, impaired lung function, osteoporosis, skeletal deformation, and the development of hypertension.It accumulates in the kidneys and can cause stones to form in them.


Lead, along with arsenic, cadmium, mercury, belongs to the class of highly hazardous substances. Lead accumulates in bones, causing their gradual destruction, accumulates in the liver and kidneys, can cause decreased performance, memory impairment and even chronic brain diseases.


Mercury has a toxic effect on the central nervous system, causes tachycardia and leads to emotional instability, memory impairment, insomnia, apathy, etc.e. A person constantly feels tired, gets tired quickly, becomes distracted and irritable. He is constantly haunted by headaches.

What to do?

Since the development of industry does not stand still, the amount of pollution emissions into the environment is growing, the impact of ecology on human health today is 25-50% of the totality of all influencing factors. Therefore, we can say with confidence that the inhabitants of megalopolises are more susceptible to the negative impact of the environment.That is why all our programs include an extended check-up diagnostics, within which it is possible to determine the level of heavy metals in the body (14 metals and 20 minerals). Based on the diagnostic results, it can be determined:

  • the general degree of intoxication of the body with heavy metals, the ability to eliminate them from the body;
  • quantitative ratio of the mineral balance (20 minerals), the presence of a deficiency or excess of certain minerals;
  • the degree of oxidative aggression and acidity of the body, its anti-oxidative status.
  • the degree of susceptibility to diabetes mellitus, allergies, to assess the regenerative potential.

Special attention should be paid to nutrition and natural detoxification of the body. One of the most effective ways is to take Donat Mg healing water as part of our programs. The composition of the water is unique in terms of the content of electrically active ionic magnesium (Mg ++), the amount of which exceeds 1000 mg / l. Taking the course is recommended after consulting a doctor.

The Rogaška Slatina spa and the Donat Mg healing water have been widely known in Europe since the beginning of the 19th century. People come here from all over the world to plunge into the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that prevail in such an amazing place. A picturesque landscape, unity with nature, a medical center with a mineral spring, a comfortable hotel with impeccable service, a variety of leisure activities and much more will allow you to recharge your batteries, improve your health, recuperate and just relax away from the noisy and polluted metropolis.

View all articles in the heading “News and Articles”
90,000 Vapors of heavy metals were unexpectedly found in comets of the solar system and outside it

eso2108ru – Scientific release

May 19, 2021

A new study by a group of Belgian astronomers using data from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT ESO) has shown that iron and nickel are present in the atmospheres of comets in the solar system, even those far from the sun.Another study by a group of Polish astronomers – they also used ESO data – suggests that nickel vapors are also present in the icy interstellar comet 2I / Borisov. This is the first detection of heavy metals commonly associated with hot environments in the cold atmospheres of distant comets.

“It was a big surprise to register atoms of iron and nickel in the atmospheres of all comets that we have observed over the past two decades – and there were about twenty of them – and even those that are far from the Sun in a cold space environment,” says Jean Manfroid ( Jean Manfroid) of the University of Liege in Belgium, who led a new study of comets in the solar system, published today in the journal Nature .

Astronomers know about the existence of heavy metals in the dusty and stony bowels of comets. But, since solid metals usually do not “sublimate” (do not go into a gaseous state) at low temperatures, they were not expected to be found in the atmospheres of cold comets moving away from the Sun. Now, nickel and iron vapors have been recorded even in comets observed at distances of more than 480 million kilometers from the Sun, which is more than three times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

Belgian researchers have found iron and nickel in cometary atmospheres in approximately equal amounts. And usually in the solar system, matter, for example, on the Sun or in meteorites, contains ten times more iron than nickel. Thus, the new results are important for our understanding of the early solar system, although researchers have not yet come to definitive conclusions about the reasons for such discrepancies.

“Comets formed about 4.6 billion years ago, at the dawn of the solar system, and have not changed since then.In this sense, they are to astronomers what fossils are to biologists, ”says co-author Emmanuel Jehin of the work, also at the University of Liege.

Although Belgian astronomers have been studying these “fossils” with the ESO VLT for about twenty years, they still have not noticed the presence of nickel and iron in cometary atmospheres. “This discovery has eluded us for many years,” says Jeen.

The group performed the analysis of cometary atmospheres at various distances of comets from the Sun using data obtained with the UVES echelle spectrograph mounted on the VLT ESO telescope.This measurement technique is called spectroscopy. It allows astronomers to determine the chemical composition of cosmic bodies: each chemical element leaves its own unique features in the radiation spectrum of an object – a system of lines.

Belgian astronomers noticed faint unidentified spectral lines in the spectra obtained with the UVES receiver. Upon closer examination, it turned out that these lines indicate the presence of neutral atoms of iron and nickel. These heavy elements were so difficult to identify because they are present in cometary atmospheres in very small quantities: according to the researchers, for every 100 kg of water there is only 1 g of iron and about the same amount of nickel.

“Usually in comet atmospheres there is 10 times more iron than nickel, but here we found about the same amount of these metals. We came to the conclusion that it is possible that there is a substance on the surface of the nuclei of these comets that sublimates at rather low temperatures and contains iron and nickel in approximately the same amounts, ” explains Damien Hutsemékers , another member of the Belgian group from the University of Liege.

Although the group has yet to come to a consensus on what kind of substance it might be, advances in astronomical technology – for example, the introduction of a live imaging camera and a METIS mid-infrared spectrograph on the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) under construction – will allow researchers find out the origin of iron and nickel atoms in the atmospheres of these comets.

A group of Belgian astronomers hope their work will pave the way for future research. “Now people will start looking for these spectral lines in their archival data from other telescopes,” says Jeen . “We think our find stimulates new work in this direction.”

Interstellar heavy metals

Another remarkable work published today in Nature shows that these heavy metals are also present in the atmosphere of interstellar comet 2I / Borisov.A group of Polish astronomers observed this object, the first interstellar comet recorded in the solar system, with the X-shooter spectrograph on the ESO VLT telescope about a year and a half ago and discovered gaseous nickel in the cold atmosphere of comet 2I / Borisov.

“At first we could not believe that atomic nickel could be present in the atmosphere of comet 2 I / Borisov at such a great distance from the Sun.We tested and verified our results many times before we were convinced of their reliability, ” says one of the authors of the work Piotr Guzik from the Jagiellonian University in Poland. This finding looks so unexpected because, before the two papers published today, heavy metal pairs were observed only in hot environments, such as the atmospheres of very hot exoplanets or evaporating comets passing in close proximity to the Sun. Comet 2I / Borisov was observed when it was at a distance of about 300 million kilometers from the Sun, that is, about twice the distance of the Earth.

A detailed study of interstellar bodies is of fundamental importance, since these bodies carry invaluable information about other planetary systems in which they were born. “We suddenly found out that gaseous nickel is present in the atmospheres of comets in other parts of our Galaxy,” says second author Michał Drahus, also a fellow at the Jagiellonian University.

Studies by Polish and Belgian astronomers show that comet 2I / Borisov and comets of the solar system have even more in common than previously thought. “Isn’t it surprising that comets in the solar system are so similar to their counterparts in other planetary systems?” – Concludes Drachus.

Learn More

The results of these studies are presented in two articles published in the journal Nature .

The composition of the authors of the work “Iron and nickel atoms in cometary atmospheres even far from the Sun” (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03435-0): J. Manfroid, D. Hutsemékers and E. Jehin (STAR ​​Institute, University of Liege, Belgium).

Authors of the article “Gaseous atomic nickel in the coma of interstellar comet 2I / Borisov”: Piotr Guzik and Michał Drahus (Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland).

The European Southern Observatory (ESO, European Southern Observatory) is the leading interstate astronomical organization in Europe, far ahead of other ground-based astronomical observatories in the world in productivity. 16 countries participate in its work: Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Sweden, as well as Chile, which provided its territory for the placement of observatories ESO, and Australia as its strategic partner.ESO has an ambitious program to design, build and operate powerful ground-based observational instruments to enable astronomers to carry out critical scientific research. ESO also plays a leading role in organizing and supporting international collaboration in the field of astronomy. ESO has three unique world-class observation points located in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chahnantor. The Paranal Observatory has the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT), capable of operating in the format of the VLTI Very Large Telescope-Interferometer, and two largest wide-angle telescopes: VISTA, which performs sky surveys in infrared rays, and the VLT optical survey telescope ( VLT Survey Telescope).In addition, at Paranal ESO, as a partner, provided a site for the installation of the Cherenkov Telescope Array South, the world’s largest gamma-ray observatory with a record in sensitivity. ESO is also one of the main operating partners for two submillimeter instruments on the Chahnantor Plateau: the APEX telescope and ALMA, the largest astronomical project of our time. On Cerro Armazones, near Paranal, ESO is building the 39-meter ELT Extremely Large Telescope, which will become “the greatest eye of humanity to the sky.”


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Kirill Maslennikov
Pulkovo Observatory
St.-Petersburg, Russia
Phone: + 7-9112122130
Cell: + 7-9112122130
Email: [email protected]

Jean Manfroid
STAR Institute, University of Liège
Liège, Belgium
Phone: +32 4 366 97 25
Email: jmanfroid @ gmail.com

Damien Hutsemékers
STAR Institute, University of Liège
Liège, Belgium
Email: [email protected]

Emmanuel Jehin
STAR Institute, University of Liège
Liège, Belgium
Phone: +32 470 850 172
Email: [email protected]

Piotr Guzik
Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University
Krakow, Poland
Phone: + 48-126-238-627
Cell: + 48-791-223-196
Email: [email protected]

Michał Drahus
Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University
Krakow, Poland
Phone: + 48-126-238-627
Cell: + 48-578-221-628
Email: drahus @ oa.uj.edu.pl

Bárbara Ferreira
ESO Media Manager
Garching bei München, Germany
Phone: +49 89 3200 6670
Cell: +49 151 241 664 00
Email: [email protected]

Connect with ESO on social media

Translation of ESO eso2108 press release.

90,000 In Novosibirsk, scientists discovered contamination of the area with heavy metals :: Novosibirsk :: RBK

PKiO “Bugrinskaya Roshcha”

(Photo: bugrinskaya-rocha.ru)

An excess of the permissible concentration of heavy metals was recorded in soils in the area of ​​the Novosibirsk tin factory. They belong to the first group of carcinogens according to the WHO classification, which means they increase the risk of cancer.This is evidenced by the data of scientists from the Novosibirsk State Technical University (NSTU) and the Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry of the SB RAS.

As Yevgeny Udaltsov, Associate Professor of the Department of Labor Safety at NSTU, told RBC Novosibirsk, a similar study was carried out in the 1990-2000s by scientists of NSTU and the Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry of the SB RAS, and excess concentrations were also found.

However, then, according to the scientist, there was an industrial zone around the plant, and now there is an active life activity.Therefore, the need to study soils for the content of heavy metals is explained by the fact that there are existing summer cottages, the Bugrinskaya Roshcha park, and the Mega shopping center on this territory. And at a distance of one kilometer from the plant, intensive multi-storey residential development is underway.

“We decided to repeat the experiment and confirmed that the heavy metal contamination was still there. The MPCs for zinc, nickel, copper, chromium and lead were found to be exceeded. As the distance from the enterprise decreases, their content decreases, however, exceeding their maximum permissible concentration is observed even in the area of ​​the natural park zone, ”Udaltsov said.

As stated in the study, the multiplicity of the maximum allowable intake (MPA) for arsenic, recognized by the WHO as a group 1 carcinogen, reaches 34 MPA; the excess for nickel and lead (carcinogens of group 2) is 14 MPC and 32 MPC, respectively.