Today’s literature suggests there are no safe limits of lead in the human body.
Adverse effects from lead exposure occur well below the toxic threshold of 10 micrograms/dl, including brain damage.
Studies show that lead exposure can lead to higher rates of Parkinson’s disease and cognitive decline in adults, and lower intelligence quotient (IQ) and learning difficulties in children.
The human body does not use lead but absorbs and stores it as if it were calcium or phosphorus.
Adults excrete lead (99 per cent of it) much better than children do (32 per cent), within a few weeks. But what the body is unable to excrete, can stay stored in the tissues for over 30 years.
Unfortunately, with chronic exposure, up to 95 per cent of lead is deposited to the bones.
Bone lead is released to soft tissues when bone remodelling occurs, and more rapidly during times of growth, menopausal hormone changes and osteoporosis.
As such, I always recommend heavy metal testing and treatment for women prior to menopause and prior to conceiving children to reduce the risk of miscarriage, as well as reducing lead transfer to the fetus and infant via placenta and breastfeeding.
Deficiency of zinc, calcium or iron, common during pregnancy and menopause, may also increase lead uptake.
With increasing lead concentration, the following can occur: Impaired Vitamin D metabolism, effects on iron capacity, headache, decreased nerve conduction velocity, metallic taste, loss of appetite, constipation, nausea, anxiety, abdominal pain, frank anemia, fine tremors, kidney damage, mild to severe numbness, muscle and joint pain, and tingling in the hands and feet and encephalopathy (brain damage).
Common sources of lead include dust in the home and soil around the home; ceramics (dishes, bowls, etc.); hair dye and red lipsticks (confirmed by studies from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the FDA); vinyl products (power cords, Christmas tree lights, etc.—look for the yellow warning label); hobbies (painting, bullets, lead soldiers, indoor firing ranges).
Most lead contamination occurs via oral ingestion of contaminated food or water or by children mouthing or eating lead-containing substances.
Lead and other heavy metals can be tested with a naturopathic physician.
In fact, in the last 10 years, published research has clearly shown how laboratory levels of lead are grossly elevated and troublesome in both children and adults.
Based on lab results, an individualized treatment plan can be tailored to each individual and include chelation therapy, detoxification support, a nutrient program, dietary recommendations and reducing future exposures.