Because of it, 35 million people have been exposed to lethal levels of arsenic. Mortality rates are estimated at 13 per 1000, which means that this poisoning has ended as many at 455,000 lives.
It happened simply enough. In the late 1960s and 1970s, UNICEF and the World Bank, concerned that surface water in the area was causing too many cases of fatal diarrhea, funded the drilling of new wells. These deeper wells provided an abundance of fresh water to the booming population of Bangladesh and West Bengal.
There was one tragic oversight that sabotaged what might have been a monumental humanitarian achievement: They didn’t test the new wells for heavy metal content.
The negligence is hard to fathom, yet the damage pales in comparison to the negligence that occurs every single day in the world of big food manufacturers.
Exposure to heavy metals in common food, air and water is perhaps the most underrated toxicity issue of our time. The consequences of chronic exposure from the daily food we eat cannot be underestimated. The damage caused by exposure moves well beyond physical health. The mind is poisoned as well.
Imagine: you may be unwittingly ingesting food and water that makes it impossible to achieve a state of lasting happiness and mental well-being, regardless of how psychologically educated you are.
This is the reality of heavy metal exposure and toxicity. What follows is evidence provided by research and case studies that demonstrates how aluminum, copper, lead, mercury, cesium, cadmium and arsenic contribute to the chronic poisoning of your mind.
According to the New York University Langone Medical Center, symptoms of aluminum toxicity can include serious mental health problems, including:
- Slurred speech or speech problems
- Nervous system problems that may cause involuntary tics
There is also some concern that aluminum toxicity can lead to degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Several studies have linked the conditions to overexposure to aluminum, including studies from the University of California, University School of Medicine in Belgrade, and the School of Studies in Zoology at Jiwaji University in India.
Natural health practitioners believe that aluminum collects in the thyroid, liver, lungs and brain. It is believed that overexposure to aluminum can lead to a number of symptoms, including confusion, cognitive impairment and memory loss. As a result, aluminum cleanses and approaches such as aluminum-abstinence therapy are common.
Luckily, these approaches are often met with incredible success. Aluminum-abstinence therapy has become particularly popular in the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients. Many nursing homes and long-term care clinics have seen some excellent results with this therapy
According to the National Institute of Health, overexposure to copper can cause a number of physical symptoms. Symptoms of copper toxicity that may be considered mental health issues include chills, convulsions, a metallic taste in the mouth and weakness.
Doctor Lawrence Wilson has also written extensively on what he calls copper toxicity syndrome. This condition is believed to cause a number of mental health symptoms, including:
- Learning disorders
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Alzheimer’s disease
Lead is a well-known and -researched neurotoxin that has been scientifically associated with major depression and anxiety disorders. It seems inescapable that, if the lead content in your blood is elevated, you will suffer with cognitive disorders and mood disturbance.
The following symptoms have been linked to lead exposure:
- Decreased learning and memory
- Lowered IQ
- Decreased verbal ability
- Impaired speech and hearing
- Difficulty concentrating
The CDC reports that exposure to gaseous metallic mercury over a long period of time may cause irritability, sleep disturbances, excessive shyness, coordination problems, tremors, memory problems and mood swings.
Natural health practitioners have long argued that exposure to mercury contained in childhood vaccinations and in the environment is one of the major causes of conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders.
These include symptoms such as:
- Lack of communication/connection with others
- Increased activity
- Difficulty concentrating
- Delayed speech
- Reduced cognitive ability
- Reduced appetite
- Sensitivity to environmental stimulation (light, sounds, smells)
- Repetitive behaviors
While it is believed to be unusual for a person to be exposed to toxic amounts of cesium through natural exposure, the CDC lists decreased mental ability and an increase or decrease in activity as symptoms of cesium toxicity.
Many natural health practitioners feel that exposure to cesium through food or drink could be a likely cause of disorders such as ADHD, difficulty concentrating and seizures.
The New York University Department of Medicine lists no mental health symptoms associated with cadmium exposure and toxicity. However, because many authors consider cadmium to be associated with heavier metals such as zinc and mercury, it is believed to cause similar symptoms as those associated with heavy metal toxicity, such as:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating, or “brain fog”
- Memory loss or forgetfulness
Arsenic poisoning can be deadly if left untreated. Exposure to toxic levels can occur in a number of instances, including the consumption of contaminated foods and beverages. Living in industrial areas can also increase rates of exposure, and arsenic may be found in contaminated drinking water as well. Arsenic poisoning can result in a number of obvious mental health symptoms, including:
- Night blindness
Arsenic poisoning can progress rapidly if left untreated, and unusual symptoms should be treated immediately.
The most sinister aspect of chronic heavy metal exposure and toxicity is that it is impossible to detect as it is happening. You can’t know for sure unless you get tested. The good news is that tests are available for those who become aware.
Under these circumstances, some people are turning to supplements that block the absorption of heavy metals. Mike Adam’s new line of supplements is one such example. Adam’s is one of the rare formulators that tests his products for purity and efficacy before releasing them or making claims. Still, the need to avoid sources of heavy metal toxicity is an issue for our age.
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Sources for this article include: