Arsenic can be found in contaminated air, food, and water. Sources of arsenic include pesticides and fertilizers, paints, dyes, pharmaceuticals, and soaps. Chronic arsenic exposure can contribute to skin lesions such as pigmentation and keratosis. Arsenic toxicity has also been associated with cancer, as well as neurological, pulmonary, and cardiovascular conditions.
Identified as highly toxic and carcinogenic, the use of lead in products such as paints and gasoline has significantly decreased in recent years. However, individuals may also be exposed to lead through other contaminated environmental sources such as cosmetics, toys, contaminated soil and drinking water, and industrial emissions. Chronic exposure to lead has been associated with allergies, weight loss, muscular weakness, paralysis, kidney damage, and brain conditions such as autism, dyslexia, hyperactivity, and psychosis.
Cadmium, a highly water-soluble metal, has many industrial uses including the manufacturing of coal, mineral fertilizers, batteries, plastics, and metal coatings. It’s also found in tobacco products, increasing the risk of cadmium toxicity in smokers. Cadmium has been identified as a Group 1 carcinogen and exposure to excess cadmium may contribute to kidney, skeletal, and lung damage.
Considered one of the most toxic heavy metals, mercury can be found in some foods and beverages, particularly in fatty fish. As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests minimizing consumption of seafood from highly polluted bodies of water. (22) Sources of mercury may also come from the pharmaceutical, agriculture, caustic soda, and paper and pulp industries. Mercury toxicity has been linked to impaired kidney function and brain conditions such as depression, tremors, fatigue, and memory problems.
Aluminum can be found in food, drinking water, and pharmaceuticals. Symptoms of acute aluminum toxicity include arthritis and joint pain, ulcers, rashes, nausea, and vomiting. Long-term aluminum exposure can impact lung and nervous system function and has been identified as a potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Install a water filter
Using a water filter can help remove toxins found in your water, such as fluoride, heavy metals (e.g., mercury, copper, cadmium), pesticides and herbicides, pharmaceutical residues, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).