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Heavy Metal Toxicity

Have you heard the term heavy metal toxicity?

Do you know the symptoms to look out for or the tests to ask your doctor for?

Heavy metal toxicity is a real medical condition.  It is caused by an accumulation of heavy metals that are not able to be detoxed from a person's system which in turn, causes issues with their health.  This overload can come from many sources such as contaminated drinking water, contaminated soil, breathing in vapors, vaccines and even foods containing high levels of these metals.  Mercury can be found in thermometers, batteries and silver dental fillings. 

Do you know why it's recommended that pregnant woman not eat a lot of fish or sushi ?  It is because many fish contain mercury.  High levels of mercury can be dangerous to unborn babies.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that a level of 85 (µg/L) is associated with neurological issues. You can read more about that in the 2009 Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. 

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been used since the 1930's in the United States in multi-dose vials (vials containing more than one dose) of medicines and vaccines. 

It wasn't until 2001 that vaccine manufacturers started removing thimerosal from most childhood vaccines due to public backlash. However, some vaccines still contain thimerosal  or trace amounts of it. 


Proponents of thimerosal point to studies showing safety and effectiveness in it's use of preventing bacterial and fungal contamination in vaccines.  However, these studies were only measuring the amounts of mercury in the blood of its test subjects and not looking at where the mercury traveled to after it left the bloodstream. This all changed with the publishing of what is known as the Burbacher Study (Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal). In this study, "Burbacher and colleagues found ethylmercury's fast breakdown leaves higher levels of so-called "inorganic" mercury in the brain. Inorganic mercury lingers in the brain for a year or more, potentially altering certain cells. A previous study has shown such damaged cells are also found in children with autism. Using monkeys, Burbacher found the brains of thimerosal-exposed infants had twice as much inorganic mercury as methylmercury- exposed infants.The Food and Drug Administration has never required testing of thimerosal's safety or of its safe exposure levels for newborns and children. Although high mercury levels particularly as a result of vaccinations have long been suspected as a leading cause of skyrocketing autism levels, the CDC and Burbacher cautioned against drawing any conclusion linking the two." (Douglas Fischer). 

Around the time vaccine manufacturers started decreasing the mercury-based preservatives, they began increasing their use of aluminum.  How much aluminum do vaccines contain? Below is a break down.  In the first 6 months of a baby's life, they will get around 4.4 milligrams of aluminum from vaccines alone. 

Amount of Aluminum in Vaccines

Pneumococcal vaccine

  • 0.125 milligram per dose (mg/dose)

Diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine

  • < 0.33 to < 0.625 mg/dose

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine

  • 0.225 mg/dose

Hepatitis A vaccine (Hep A)

  • 0.225 to 0.25 mg/dose (pediatrics)

  • 0.45 to 0.5 mg/dose (adults)

Hepatitis B vaccine (Hep B)

  • 0.225 to 0.5 mg/dose (pediatrics)

  • 0.5 mg/dose (adults)

Hep A/Hep B vaccine

  • 0.45 mg/dose

DTaP/inactivated polio/Hep B vaccine

  • < 0.85 mg/dose

DTaP/inactivated polio/Hib vaccine

  • 0.33 mg/dose

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

  • 0.5 mg/dose

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine

  • 0.25 mg/dose

Meningococcal B vaccine

  • 0.25 – 0.52 mg/dose

Td vaccine

  • < 0.53 – 1.5 mg/dose

Tdap vaccine

  • 0.33 – 0.39 mg/dose

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity

Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity can vary depending of the amount, kind, and level of exposure.  Below is a list of some of the symptoms.  If you experience multiple symptoms you can request a full panel blood test from your doctor which may include a liver and/or kidney function test, urine analysis, hair analysis, electrocardiogram, or x-rays. 


*Please note that functional/integrative physicians tend to be more knowledgeable about this subject.

  • confusion

  • headaches

  • achy joints

  • constipation

  • numbness

  • passing out

  • weakness

  • achy muscles

  • fatigue

  • diarrhea

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • abdominal pain

  • chills

  • shortness of breath

  • lack of coordination

  • hearing difficulties

  • speech difficulties

  • vision changes

  • nerve damage in hands/face

  • trouble walking

  • irritability

The good news is there are ways to detox these metals that have been stored up in your body.  The more you know, the easier it can be for you to avoid these metals. 

An important note is while aluminum is technically not a "heavy metal" since it does not have an atomic number that is greater than 5, it typically is deemed a heavy metal because it is a metal that is known to be toxic at low doses.  You can find a list of the characteristics and a list of heavy metals at this website. 


Chart of thimerosal content of available FDA-approved seasonal flu vaccines from this website:

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