Last week I found out that my body is carrying a heavy lead load. My mercury is high, but the lead is through the roof. Where did it come from? How long have I had it? What do I do about it? How is it affecting me? These curiosities coincidentally coincide with the EPA releasing new guidelines for home renovation to protect children from exposure. If you're remodeling, have a gander. Additionally, on February 22nd, the state of Rhode Island won a case against paint companies that marketed and sold leaded paint with full knowledge of its harmful effects. According to the Boston Globe, the companies may have to pay billions in damages and clean up to 300,000 homes of toxic lead.As to the origin of my exposure, it’s still a mystery. My most recent apartment building supposedly had updated pipes and unleaded paint (I told my fellow tenants about it anyway, in case something had been overlooked). I have lived in urban areas for the last seven years, but my exposure is too high to have resulted from routine city existence. None of my hobbies involves playing with leaded fishing weights or pottery glazes. Since, according to the CDC, "Lead poisoning affects virtually every system in the body, and often occurs with no distinctive symptoms," it's hard to say when or where it happened, or how it's affecting me.
One possible answer: the indoor arena that served as my playpen on the horse farm where I grew up. Starting when I was two, a truck would show up every six months to spread a used motor oil/gas on the dirt in our barn. I played in it like a sandbox for about three hours per day during my childhood summers. That's right. A great solution for keeping the dust down when working with horses, my parents didn’t think about the effects of a used leaded gasoline/motor oil cocktail on all of our health.
The question of what to do about it is the easiest to answer: chelation, which has become my favorite word next to constabulatory. It derives from the Greek, meaning claw. A chemical claw surrounds the metal so that it can be safely carried out of the body. The toxic metals test involved such a process to pull the metals out of the tissues for testing, and I followed up with a weak, oral vitamin C chelation to make sure the released metals didn’t settle into other tissues. Afterwards, I felt amazingly well, so I’m very optimistic about the much more intense intravenous chelating that I’ll begin today. My health practitioner says (not surprisingly) that it’s very taxing for the immune system to constantly fight the metals, so doing a series of chelations may dramatically improve my health. Fingers crossed.
Blood levels in children have dropped significantly since the early 80s when I was in elementary school, but as the Alliance for Healthy Families points out, there are income- and race-based disparities in improvements.
I'll keep you posted on my adventures in extraction. Anyone out there with leaded wisdom to share? ::