Can I Get Heavy Metal Poisoning in the U.S.?
The answer: it’s unlikely to get heavy metal poisoning in the United States. However, some people may be at a greater risk than others. And don’t worry, you can’t get “heavy metal” poisoning from your son blasting screamo music from his bedroom speakers.
So what is heavy metal poisoning? How can you get it? Who is more susceptible to it and what are the symptoms?
Heavy metal poisoning is the accumulation of heavy metals, like lead and mercury, in toxic amounts in the body. Heavy metals can infiltrate your body in a multitude of ways including absorption through your skin or through the food you eat.
What are the Causes of Metal Poisoning?
People in certain professions are more susceptible to heavy metal poisoning. For instance, if you work near a hazardous waste site, you could be exposing yourself to arsenic if you’re not wearing the necessary protective gear. Industrial construction workers should be wary of lead poisoning if not taking the required safety procedures to prevent any affliction.
Below are possible causes of heavy metal poisoning referenced from Healthline:
- working near a hazardous waste site
- living in an area that has high levels of arsenic in rocks, water, and soil
- ingesting insecticides, pesticides, or herbicides
- eating contaminated seafood or algae
- drinking contaminated water
- working in an industrial setting, especially one where ore is processed or smelted
- welding on alloys that contain cadmium or using silver solders
- inhaling cigarette smoke
- living in a home with high levels of lead-based paint
- doing industrial construction work, radiator repair, or smelter operations
- being in firing ranges
- using kohl cosmetics
- applying progressive hair dyes
- mining, producing or transporting mercury
- mining and refining gold and silver ores
- consuming contaminated fish or water
- manufacturing mirrors, X-ray machines, incandescent lights, or vacuum pumps
What are the Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning?
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of heavy metal that is inside your body. However, the most common symptoms of copious amounts of heavy metals in your system are:
- abdominal pain
- shortness of breath
- tingling in your hands and feet
These symptoms sound similar to the average flu, don’t they? So it can be easy to misdiagnose heavy metal poisoning. However, untreated poisoning can lead to unformed or weakened bones in children and pregnant women may also experience a miscarriage or premature birth.
How do I Know if I Have Metal Poisoning?
Thankfully, there are simple tests out there that can accurately diagnose whether or not you have too many heavy metals in your body. On the other hand, various heavy metals affect different parts of the body and therefore, cannot necessarily be tested in the same way.
A dried urine analysis is helpful for identifying excess amounts of metals in the body such as arsenic. Meanwhile, a dried blood spot test works well to test for a surplus of lead. If your tests come back positive for metal poisoning, CCRx utilizes the test results to get you the best treatment and care you need to detox your body from the harsh metals in your system.
How is Heavy Metal Poisoning Treated?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, see your doctor right away. A heavy metal poisoning test is necessary to find out if you have an excess amount of metals (and metal type) in your body. Work with your doctor and your CCRx pharmacist to find a treatment that works best for you and your needs.