Lead paint poisoning isn’t something we think about much these days. After all, lead was removed from gasoline and paint way back in 1978. Household lead-based paint was banned in the UK in 1992 and four-star leaded petrol in 1998. But lead was recently thrust back into the headlines when it was reported that Freddie Gray, who tragically died in Baltimore, in the US, this past April, was repeatedly exposed to the heavy metal as a child.
Still lead poisoning isn’t something most of us have to worry about anymore, right? It’s been gone from our lives for more than 30 years now.
The truth is lead exposure is still an issue. In fact, if you were born before 1978 chances are YOU have entirely too much lead in your body right now. Let’s take a look at how your own early life exposure may be impacting you.
A look at the link between lead and health
High levels of lead in the blood can harm developing brains and bodies leading to organ damage, decreased cognitive function, aggression and even death. A child who is poisoned by lead starts out life at a distinct disadvantage. But even when your own lead levels don’t reach the sky-high levels that are considered ‘poisoning’ by today’s mainstream medicine standards, there can be very real consequences to lower levels of lead exposure over time.
You see, unlike conventional medicine doctors, holistic practitioners recognise that simply being exposed to lead… as you surely were in your younger years, and may still be today… can have a dire impact on health, even if a victim isn’t technically ‘poisoned’ by mainstream medicine’s standards.
That’s because the lead is essentially ferreted away in many nooks and crannies throughout your body, but mostly in your bones. Meaning that every time that you exercise, or even walk, some of that lead is squirted into your bloodstream. And that can have tragic… and even deadly… consequences.
‘Low’ levels of lead kill
For example, a study published in the journal Circulation in 2006 revealed that even a blood lead level as ‘low’ as between 3.6 and 10 micrograms per decilitre was associated with a 25 per cent higher risk of death from any cause, a 55 per cent higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease, an 89 per cent higher risk of death from heart attack and two and a half times the risk of death from stroke.
Another study, published in 2010, followed nearly 10,000 patients with slightly elevated lead levels when they were over 40 years old. Researchers found that having a lead level between 5 to 9 micrograms per decilitre was clearly associated with an increased risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
If you want to know what your own lead level is, ask your doctor for a blood lead test. If you have access to an integrative medicine practitioner, ask for a hair test or a urine provocation challenge to test for heavy metals.
Keep in mind that there shouldn’t be ANY lead in your blood. So even if your count comes back within the so-called ‘normal range’, any number above zero should be seen as a potential problem. If this is the case talk with your doctor about chelation and other strategies for bringing your number down to zero.
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing – July 2015, Vol. 9, Issue 7