Heavy Metals - links to disease

The presence of Heavy Metals in the human body is now linked to many diseases and health conditions.

Below looks at Lead in particular, one of the most commonly used metals in the modern world. (taken from WHO website)

WHO - Logo.png

Lead poisoning and health

23 August 2018


Key facts

  • Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.

  • Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood.

  • Lead in bone is released into blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing fetus.

  • There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.

  • Lead exposure is preventable.

Once lead enters the body, it is distributed to organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver and bones. The body stores lead in the teeth and bones where it accumulates over time.

Lead stored in bone may be remobilized into the blood during pregnancy, thus exposing the fetus.

Undernourished children are more susceptible to lead because their bodies absorb more lead if other nutrients, such as calcium or iron, are lacking.

Children at highest risk are the very young (including the developing fetus) and the impoverished.

Burden of disease from lead exposure

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated that in 2016 lead exposure accounted for 540 000 deaths and 13.9 million years of healthy life lost (disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)) worldwide due to long-term effects on health. The highest burden was in low- and middle-income countries. IHME also estimated that in 2016, lead exposure accounted for 63.8% of the global burden of idiopathic developmental intellectual disability, 3% of the global burden of ischaemic heart disease and 3.1% of the global burden of stroke (3).


You can search PubMed for additional peer reviewed studies for any subject mentioned on this page.

PubMed - using any search terms:

Additional Sources

Lancet articles - 2018


2018 The Lancet

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 4, PE177-E184, APRIL 01, 2018

Low-level lead exposure and mortality in US adults: a population-based cohort study

"Lead exposure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease mortality…."


"Lead is one of many recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease…."


"chronic exposure to lead caused hypertension and enhanced the development of atherosclerosis…."


"Although reducing the amount of lead in blood might cut a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease mortality...."

The population attributable fraction of the concentration of lead in blood for all-cause mortality was 18·0% (95% CI 10·9–26·1), which is equivalent to 412 000 deaths annually. (US)

     Study refers to Chelation as effective treatment

2018  The Lancet

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 4, PE156-E157, APRIL 01, 2018

Lead and the heart: an ancient metal's contribution to modern disease


" A key conclusion to be drawn from this analysis is that lead has a much greater effect on cardiovascular mortality than previously recognized. "

" The time has come to end inattention to the contribution of pollution to mortality from non-communicable diseases and to thoroughly re-examine lead's role in changing global patterns of cardiovascular disease. "

Lead in Urine.png

Urinary Lead Concentration Is an Independent Predictor of Cancer Mortality in the U.S. General Population

June 2018

A positive correlation between urinary lead levels and cancer mortality was observed in the U.S. general population.



Lead poisoning - MedlinePlus

In 2014, health organizations estimated that nearly a quarter billion people worldwide had toxic (poisonous) blood lead levels.

"Chelation therapy is a procedure that can remove high levels of lead that have built up in a person's body over time."