Heavy metal toxicity is a very general subject and people experience widely varying symptoms in response to heavy metal poisoning.
If undetected these agents can cause immeasurable pain and suffering for any afflicted individual. Fortunately there are avenues that an affected individual can pursue to detoxify heavy metals already in their system. Exposure to toxic metals is associated with many chronic diseases. Recent research has found that even low levels of lead mercury cadmium aluminum and arsenic can cause a wide variety of health problems.
|Decreased Intelligence in Kids||Aluminum Cookware|
|Nervous System Disorders||Amalgam Fillings|
|Immune Dysfunction||Drinking Water|
|Muscle Weakness and Aches||Fish and Seafood|
|High Blood Pressure||Cosmetics|
|Metallic Taste in Mouth||Anti-Perspirants|
Causes of arsenic toxicity include ingestion of arsenic (found in insect poisons), skin contact (e.g. some linseed oils) and even drinking water.
Symptoms include nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, vertigo, fatigue, paresthesia, paralysis and mental impairment.
Signs include mottled brown skin, hyperkeratosis of palms and soles, cutis edema, transverse striate Leukonychia, perforation of nasal septum, eyelid edema, coryza, limb paralysis and reduced deep tendon reflexes.
Cadmium may promote skeletal demineralization and increase bone fragility and fracture risk.
Signs and Symptoms include hypertension, fatigue, hemolytic anemia, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, arthralgias, headache, weakness, irritability, impotence, loss of libido, depression, depression of thyroid and adrenal function, chronic renal failure, gout.
A patient with lead poisoning may have a combination of symptoms - or no symptoms at all until the condition has progressed.
Mercury is used in thermometers barometers dental fillings batteries electrical wiring and switches fluorescent light bulbs pesticides fungicides vaccines paint skin-tightening creams vapors from spills antiseptic creams pharmaceutical drugs and ointments (ATSDR 1989a).
Inorganic mercury vapor is at high concentrations near chlorine-alkali plants smelters municipal incinerators and sewage treatment plants. Organic mercury is known to bioaccumulate -- or pass up the food chain due an organism's inability to process and eliminate it. It is found primarily in marine life (fish) and can often be found in produce and farm animals processed grains and dairy products and surface salt- and fresh water sources (ATSDR 1989a; Brenner and Snyder 1980).
Dentists, painters, fisherman, electricians, pharmaceutical/laboratories, workers, farmers, factory workers, miners, chemists, and beauticians are just some of the professions chronically exposed to mercury compounds.
Target tissues: The absorption and distribution of mercury compounds depends largely upon its chemical state. After absorption in the gastrointestinal tract organic mercury is readily distributed throughout the body but tends to concentrate in the brain and kidneys (Goyer 1991b). Approximately 80% of mercury vapor is absorbed directly through the lungs and distributed primarily to the CNS and the kidneys (Friberg and Nordberg 1973).
Signs and symptoms:
Mercury exposure can result in a wide variety of human health conditions. The degree of impairment and the clinical manifestations that accompany mercury exposure largely depend upon its chemical state and the route of exposure. Repeated and prolonged exposure has resulted in severe disturbances in the central nervous system gastrointestinal tract kidneys and liver.
Daivs et al. (1974) reported dementia colitis and renal failure in individuals chronically poisoned due to the ingestion of an inorganic mercury containing laxative. Inhaled inorganic mercury can cause a wide range of clinical complications in individuals including corrosive bronchitis, interstitial pneumonitis, renal disorders, fatigue, insomnia, loss of memory, excitability, chest pains, impairment of pulmonary function and gingivitis (Goyer 1991b ATSDR 1989a).
Chronic inhalation of inorganic mercury compounds may result in a reduction of sensory and motor nerve function depression, visual and/or auditory hallucinations, muscular tremors, sleep disorders, alterations in autonomic function, (heart rate blood pressure reflexes) impaired visuomotor coordination, speech disorders, dementia, coma and death (Clarkson 1989; Goyer 1991b; Fawyer et al. 1983; Piikivi and Hanninen 1989; and Ngim et al. 1992).
Ngim et al. (1992) have shown that a group of dentists exposed to mercury vapors occupationally perform significantly worse in neurobehavioral tests that measure motor speed visual scanning visuomotor coordination and concentration verbal memory and visual memory.
Kishi et al. (1993) have found that smelter workers exposed to inorganic mercury compounds continue to experience neurological symptoms-tremors headaches slurred speech, senile symptoms and diminished mental capacities eighteen years after the cessation of mercury exposure.