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Get the Lead Out
¡°In THAT direction,¡± the Cat said, waving its
right paw round, ¡°lives a Hatter ¨C and in THAT
direction,¡± waving the other paw, ¡°lives a March
Hare. Visit either you like: they¡¯re both mad.¡±
Thus, Lewis Carroll immortalized the term ¡®Mad
Hatter¡¯ in his 19th century book ¡®Alice in Won-
derland¡¯. This common English saying referred
to the toxic effects of mercury seen in felt hat
makers of the time. The accumulation of mer-
cury caused dementia and the phrase ¡°mad as
a hatter¡± became a colloquial term to refer to
someone acting insane.
Back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans,
heavy metal toxicity has been well documented.
Metals that are at least 5 times denser than wa-
ter are referred to as ¡°heavy metals¡±. Certain
heavy metals, in the right amounts, are essen-
tial for health, such as iron, copper, manganese
and zinc. However, heavy metals become toxic
when they accumulate in the body tissues.
There are 23 heavy metals that are concerning
for their toxicity and common exposure.
Mining produces silver, gold, platinum, nickel,
copper and tin. Around here we are familiar
with heavy metals such as uranium, vana-
dium and tellurium. Arsenic was used in wood
preservatives and insecticides, which is now
banned, but is still used commonly in the poul-
try industry to stimulate growing birds. Cad-
mium is found in gasoline fumes and the most
common exposure is from cigarette smoke.
Lead and mercury are two of the most common
heavy metals of concern. Lead is a very soft
metal and was used in pipes, drains and solder
for years. It was also in paint up until about
1940. Today lead is found mostly in batter-
ies, plumbing, ammunition, fuel additives, PVC
plastics, pencils and pesticides.
Mercury is the most widely distributed heavy
metal on earth, released naturally from the
earth¡¯s degassing and volcanoes. It is com-
monly found in batteries, thermometers, ther-
mostats and dental amalgams. Mining and
paper industries produce significant
amounts of mercury that is emitted
into the air, returning in the rain and
into the earth¡¯s water supply. In 2004
the EPA warned that nearly all fish
contain traces of mercury, especially
harmful to unborn or small children.
That same year another report warned
that 1/3 of the lakes and 1/4 of the
river ways in the US were contaminat-
ed with toxic levels of mercury.
Acute exposures to heavy metals lead-
ing to a high blood level will cause
acute heavy metal toxicity and the
medical field broadly agrees this is a
bad deal. The symptoms of acute tox-
icity depend on the metal and the route
of exposure ¨C they are wide ranging
and are easy to misdiagnose. Common
symptoms impact the nervous system
causing memory loss, depression or
anxiety, mood swings, headaches, in-
somnia, anorexia, vision problems and
peripheral nerve disorders.
The issue of chronic heavy metal expo-
sure and the slow accumulation in body
tissues is more controversial. Medicine
is just beginning to recognize the seri-
ous negative effects that heavy metals
cause in the body over time. Industrial
polluters and their government safety
pawns are none too happy about mod-
ern science uncovering well-researched
connections between chronic heavy
metal accumulation and disease. Cur-
rently ¡°acceptable¡± levels of heavy
2016 August/September
Pg 8 - The Sunshine Express
Health & Nurturing
metal exposure are too high and we are suffer-
ing as a result. In my library of research stud-
ies there are several hundred that confirm this
fact, but consider just a few related to lead.
A 2006 study by Menke, from the American
Heart Association¡¯s journal, ¡°Circulation¡±, con-
cluded that the association between blood lead
levels and increased all-cause and cardiovas-
cular mortality was observed at substantially
lower blood lead levels than previously report-
ed. The startling message of this study was the
evidence that lead levels well below the
accepted ¡°safe¡±
range were associ-
ated with an 89%
increased risk of
heart attack and a
151% increased risk
of stroke!
The Third National
Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey
determined blood
levels in 13,946
participants. It was
found that 38%
of US adults had
a blood lead level
above the thresh-
old determined by
Menke to ¡°represent
a public health haz-
Another study from
¡°Circulation¡± 2004,
by Navas-Acien,
found that ¡°periph-
eral artery disease
was associated with
blood lead levels well
below current safety
standards¡±. A 2003
study by Lin, from
the prestigious New
England Journal of
Medicine, found that
¡°low-level environ-
mental lead expo-
sure¡± accelerated
kidney failure in pa-
tients with impaired
kidney function.
We are exposed
to heavy met-
als throughout our
lifetime and avoid-
ing heavy metal
exposure is almost
impossible, thus a
long-term treatment plan is to avoid as much
heavy metal as possible while removing the metals
from our body. This is done by a treatment called
¡°chelation¡± which comes from the Greek word
meaning ¡°claw¡±. A chelating agent is one that is
taken into the body, where is binds to heavy met-
als, pulling them out of the tissue whence they can
be excreted in the urine and stool.
The best chelating agent for lead and most metals
is a chemical called EDTA. It is usually given by IV
injection in a series of 5 to 30 treatments, until the
heavy metals are removed. An oral form of EDTA
is given to absorb metals that will accumulate in
the intestine during IV treatment. We also use
natural chelating agents taken orally such garlic,
malic acid and methionine.
Blood or urine levels of heavy metals will only
detect recent exposure. Hair samples are a good
indication of longer exposures but will only reflect
recent months. The best way to test for metal
accumulation is to undergo a ¡°provocation¡± IV che-
lation treatment, after which the urine is collected
for 6 to 24 hours. The heavy metals measured
in the urine show how much was chelated and
eliminated, giving an indirect measure of which
metals are present in the body. Chelation treat-
ments continue until the metals stop showing up in
provoked urine samples.
If you have high blood pressure, artery disease, a
chronic illness of any kind, or wish to take a pre-
ventive measure for your health, consider chela-
tion as safe and inexpensive way to ¡°get the lead
(Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the
American Board of Family Practice and the
American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative
Medicine. He specializes in Bioidentical Hormone
Replacement for men and women, thyroid and
adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia, weight loss and
other complex medical conditions. He is founder
and medical director of the Integrative Medicine
Center of Western Colorado (
and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzalaser.
com). Call 970.245.6911 for an appointment or
more information.)
In Harmony
by Scott Rollins, M.D.
¡°The spirit is one of the most
neglected parts of man by doctors
and scientists around the world.
Yet, it is as vital to our health as
the heart and mind. It¡¯s time for
science to examine the many
facets of the soul. The condition
of our soul is usually the source of
many sicknesses.¡± - Suzy Kassem