In 2014, The Seattle Times conducted an investigation on the ongoing issue of lead exposure from shooting ranges. Out of the 10 shooting ranges investigated in Washington, 96 lead based violations were found. The culprits? Lead based ammunition paired with poor ventilation. Two populations were effected the most: the employees of the shooting ranges and the patrons who frequented these ranges such as Seattle Police officers.
Why is this investigation so compelling?
Exposure to lead can cause a myriad of health issues; it has been associated with everything from learning disabilities and behavioral disorders to a higher risk of death by any cause. Although lead was banned in paint in 1978, the recent shooting range violations are a reminder to us that lead poisoning is not a distant nightmare and needs to be examined under closer scrutiny. Even if you don’t frequent a shooting range, you could still be at risk. If not dealt with, lead builds up in your system and the more lead in your system the more likely you are to notice its effects. You may have heard of lead poisoning from paint chips and water pipes.
Here is a list of possible sources of lead exposure that might surprise you:
- Lipstick: Most lipstick has lead in it, some brands have much higher levels than others. Although the FDA says that as long as lipstick is used as directed, it is safe. Yet, the FDA may not be taking into account frequent applications of lipstick and lipstick use in concurrence with other sourcesof lead exposure.
- Soil: In 1996 lead was banned from gasoline, but lead infused gasoline continues to effect the soil in homes and farms next to busy roads. The soil itself is the main source of possible lead exposure therefore if you’re growing produce in a busy urban area area, be sure to wash and peel anything before you eat it!
- Canned food and fruit juices: Lead has been found in canned food and fruit juices. In a case similar to lipstick, the FDA says the amount of lead in these products are too small to pose a health risk, but again they are not considering continuous exposure and concurrence with other sources.
- Ayurvedic and other traditional medicines: Certain traditional medicines have been found tocontain lead in them, especially ones coming from Mexico, The Dominican republic, Southeast Asia, or India. Traditional medicines that contain lead include: Bala (or Bala Goli), Golf, Ghasard, Kandu, Pay-loo- a, Greta and Azarcon.
- Imported goods from other countries: The use of lead in consumer products in other countries is not as regulated as it is in the US. Be careful when buying imported goods such as canned food, candy, pottery, jewelry, and toys.
As we can see, lead permeates our environment. So what does this mean for us? Are we doomed? Fortunately, there is hope. There are effective ways of ridding your body of heavy metals such as lead including through diet, detoxification, chelation and IV therapy. Give Starkel Nutrition a call if you would like help with an individualized treatment plan for heavy metal toxicity.
For more general information about heavy metals, check out the first part in our Heavy Metal Series. Stay tuned for information on other toxic metals in our environment and a more comprehensive look into treatments!
By Nutrition Student Marieve