Preventing and Reversing
Heavy Metal Toxicity-III
Mercury has a particular affinity for brain tissue. The damage it
does to brain cells can be devastating and irreparable
The patient in the dental chair is not the only one potentially at risk from mercury poisoning. Dentists and their assistants may also be in danger. A study compared behavioral test scores in dentists exposed to elemental mercury and those not so exposed. The exposed dentists, who had significantly higher urinary mercury levels, also showed significant deficits in mental concentration, emotional instability, somatosensory irritation, and mood. The authors suggested that the accumulated test scores provided "evidence of subtle preclinical changes in behavior associated with Hg [mercury] exposure."11
While amalgam fillings are used less and less these days, the problem still arises: what to do with existing fillings. Should you have them drilled out and replaced with apparently safer composite materials? The process of removal, aside from being costly and unpleasant, may expose you to more mercury than if you just left them alone. One option is to not disturb your fillings and capture any mercury released by the process of chelation. We'll talk more about this important option later on.
LEAD POISONING: NO LEVEL IS SAFE
Lead can produce adverse effects, not only on mental function, but on virtually every system of the body. Like mercury, lead holds the greatest danger for fetuses and young children, who absorb it more readily and whose developing nervous systems are exceptionally vulnerable.
The harm that lead causes may be directly
related to the amount present in the body;
no level, no matter how low,
can be considered "safe."
The harm that lead causes may be directly related to the amount present in the body; no level, no matter how low, can be considered "safe." Blood levels of lead as low as 10 µg/dL have been associated with harmful effects on children's learning and behavior. Higher levels sustained over a period of months or years may have dire consequences for a child's mental and physical health.
As noted above, much has been done to reduce environmental lead during the last two decades, but lead still remains a threat to millions. In 1989, a report in the AMA publication American Medical News12 stated that about 4 million children and 400,000 fetuses were being exposed to levels of lead high enough to cause convulsions, brain damage, coma, and death. Lesser exposure was associated with low birth weight, impaired hearing and cognitive development, and reduced IQ.
According to other estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services, as many as 10% of preschoolers may be affected. A large 1991 epidemiologic survey (Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, NHANES III) found that over the previous 20 years, the average child's blood-lead level decreased from 12.8 to 2.8 µg/dL. That's the good news. At the same time, though NHANES III indicated that about 1.7 million US children under the age of 6 still had blood levels above the Center for Disease Control's "safe" level, <10 µg/dL.13
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