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Arsenic 25 July 2009

Arsenic is ubiquitous in food, water, soil and air. Like mercury, arsenic is a potent metabolic, hormonal, immune and gene toxin. It is a byproduct of the smelting process for metals such as copper, lead, gold, zinc and nickel. Other sources include combustion of coal, rat poisons, wall paper plaster, car exhaust, manufacture of glass, wood preservatives and paints. Most human exposure, however, comes from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in our food and water. Fish, non-organic meat and poultry, grapes and tobacco are the main culprits.

Arsenic accumulates in hair, skin, bone, gastrointestinal tract and the thyroid gland. It inhibits the function of selenium, particularly in its role in production of thyroid hormone. Arsenic can therefore cause goiters. It can cross the placenta and cause miscarriages and birth defects. Chronic toxicity can cause aching muscles, intestinal disorders, nerve damage, headache, fatigue, brittle nails, dermatitis, Raynauds syndrome, burning/redness of hands and feet, paresthesiaes, garlic odour on breath, heart failure, hypertension, jaundice and cancer (especially bladder, skin, kidney and lung).

Anyone with a chronic illness should be assessed for heavy metals.

The joint Guidelines for Toxic Metals prepared by the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology, the American Association of Environmental Medicine and the International College of Integrative Medicine state that “ANY test showing heavy metals deserves to be treated, if only for preventative purposes. Ideal levels of heavy metals in human tissue are zero if we are to prevent the development of chronic illness. Arbitrary threshold values to define ‘toxic’ levels proposed by conventional occupational medicine are not useful and may be harmful if the patient is left untreated.”

It is my opinion that EVERYONE should be taking steps to lower the total body burden of heavy metals.

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