Heavy metal exposure is a common and serious problem.
You may have heard of Freddie Gray, Jr., the Baltimore native who died after being taken into police custody. His story adds to the dialogue about race, policing, and disparities in America, but we want to talk about him for a different reason. According to a Washington Post article, Freddie Gray was a victim of lead poisoning. The events in Flint, Michigan are also bringing lead poisoning into mainstream discussions.
Lead was banned in 1978, but still exists in the bodies of those who were previously exposed, and old peeling paint chips. Unfortunately, when we are exposed to lead it is stored in our bones and slowly released over time. So, even if blood levels are low, the risk is still high. Lead in the blood is associated with decreased cognitive function, organ damage, aggression and even death. Small amounts in the blood are associated with a higher risk of death from any cause. This is not something to mess around with!
If you believe you may have been exposed to lead through old paint in a home or other building, at industrial sites or another source, as in the case of Freddie Gray, you can get your blood tested. Keep in mind the safest amount of lead is zero, so even if your levels fall within normal limits, speak with a functional medicine physician about what you can do.