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Toxic Metal Report: Lead Is Still in the Workplace and Can Affect Genetic Expression

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Dealing with heavy metals—lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and others—were once the concern of integrative medical physicians and dentists alone. In fact, these practitioners were routinely targeted by medical boards for screening patients for heavy metal toxicity. But now the conventional medical literature links mercury to heart attacks and heart disease and lead to high blood pressure.

A new government report says on-the-job exposure to lead continues to be a hazard for US workers. Nationally, blood lead levels increased between 2005 and 2006/2007. Lead may be much higher in tissues rather than circulating in the bloodstream, according to many practitioners.
New research shows that lead, even at low doses, is extremely toxic. Studies of patients with thinning bones suggest that lead toxicity can occur later in life. It is often unrecognized in older adults with high blood pressure. Despite this, allopathic physicians rarely screen for heavy metals, and even many integrative physicians only suggest that their patients be screened.

A larger study shows that a mother’s total lead burden affects her children’s genetic development. Lead released from a mother’s bones during pregnancy is linked with the “turning on and off” of her fetus’s genes, which may make her children and grandchildren more susceptible to diseases that include Alzheimer’s. In addition, lead exposure before birth has been linked to premature births and low birth rates.

Screening at-risk mothers-to-be for lead toxicity should become the standard of care. Integrative physicians are clearly in the forefront of improving patient care as they recognize the role heavy metals play in our health, our children, and future generations.

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