How to reduce your exposure to heavy metals
03/30/2019 / By Michelle Simmons / Comments
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How to reduce your exposure to heavy metals

Every day, you are exposed to heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury, that can harm your health. You may not completely eliminate toxins in the environment, but you can take steps to minimize your exposure. Here are some ways:

Evaluate your daily food choices: One of the most common causes of heavy metal exposure is from the foods you eat. There are certain foods that are known to be at higher risk for containing heavy metals. These include fish like tuna, king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, and tilefish, rice, and bone broth. Mercury is commonly found in large, predatory fish, arsenic is typically found in rice, and lead is usually found in bone broth. This does not necessarily mean that you should completely avoid these foods, but you should choose the right ones. Cooking rice in a coffee pot can lower its arsenic content, but cooking bones to make bone broth won’t because bones store lead.

Eat detoxifying foods: There are also foods that can protect you from heavy metals. Include foods like cruciferous vegetables, fiber, phytates, probiotics, cilantro, and black sesame seeds to your diet. These foods help eliminate heavy metals from the body.

Make sure your drinking water isn’t contaminated: You may want to consider getting your water tested for heavy metals, especially if you have a well or if your house has older plumbing. This is because heavy metals can contaminate the groundwater through soil contamination of underground aquifers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 20 percent of the water systems in the country have unsafe levels of lead. Invest in a high-quality water filtration system for your home water to reduce your exposure to lead.


Choose safer cosmetics and personal care products: Most widely-used personal care products like sunscreen, nail polish, makeup, whitening toothpaste, and such have been found to contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium, and aluminum. These toxic chemicals are actually used as added ingredients in consumer products. Opt for safer alternatives instead.

Get an air purifier for your home: You are also exposed to heavy metals through the air you breathe, so getting an air purifier that filters out these toxic chemicals for your home would be great. One of the most common heavy metals that exist in the air is arsenic. Cadmium, chromium, and nickel are also airborne heavy metals. These toxic substances float around primarily because of human activities like using aerosol products, driving cars, and running heavily-polluting industrial businesses. You can also minimize your exposure to these metals by removing your shoes before going inside your house. Your shoes may contain heavy metals from outdoors and may spread it around the house.

Why should you be wary of heavy metals?

Exposure to heavy metals can lead to heavy metal poisoning, which occurs when these toxic chemicals accumulate in the soft tissues of the body. The symptoms of heavy metal poisoning vary, depending on the type of heavy metal. In general, it can lead to an autoimmune disorder, reproductive problems, infections, weakness, brain damage, and bone loss, to name a few. (Related: Heavy metal toxicity symptoms explained: are you poisoned?.)

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