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Public Health Consequences of Heavy Metals in Dump Sites *

Metals differ from most synthetic organic chemicals in that their clinical manifestations are well known and methods for their measurement in the body are generally well established. Since metals are ubiquitous, special care should be taken to identify the source, whether dump site or not. Isotopic ratios may be used for lead. Time of exposure may be highly variable so estimates will be necessary of integrated "dose-commitment." Transmission to man will follow many pathways. The contamination of children's hands and clothing by dust may be an important route. Because effects are so different, the chemical species (e.g., organic versus inorganic forms) of each metal must be identified. Exposure assessment requires identification of suitable indicator media, usually blood in the case of lead, urine with cadmium and inorganic mercury, and blood or hair with regard to methylmercury. Human head hair may have considerable potential, as it may provide a recapitulation of past exposures. The first health complaints associated with most metals are usually nonspecific. The complex social, political, and legal issues strongly indicate the need for objective tests for health effects. Most important is the identification and measurement of the critical effect, i.e., an effect that alerts the public health authorities that further exposure should cease. For example, in the case of lead, the critical effect is hematologic; with cadmium it is the presence in urine of abnormally high concentration of small molecular weight protein; and with mercury no early objective test has yet been devised.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 05-05-2008