7 Household Items with Toxic Heavy Metals
Heavy metals aren’t just a concern of the past. Thanks to their remarkably long life, the heavy metals used in decades-old lead pipes and lead paint still pose a risk today. Heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and cadmium build up in the environment and constantly recycle into our food, water and even the air we breathe.
This means no matter where you are, you’re exposed to heavy metals on a daily basis. Repeated exposure to heavy metals causes them to accumulate in your body, where they pose a dangerous risk to your health.
Reducing your exposure simply begins with an awareness of where heavy metals hide. One of the best places to get started is in your home—where a surprising number of items can be contaminated with heavy metals.
1. Carpet and Area Rugs
It may feel soft underfoot, but one of the sources of heavy metal exposure in your home is through your carpet. According to John Roberts, an environmental engineer, carpet can contain alarmingly high levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, and several other chemicals that can cause significant harm to your health (1).
That’s because carpets are particularly good at trapping the dirt and toxins brought in on your shoes. Vacuuming doesn’t help since it brings particles from deep in the carpet and circulates it into the air in your home.
To protect yourself, park your shoes by the door and opt for wood floors or tile. If that’s not an option, consider detoxifying the heavy metals with a daily zeolite supplement.
2. Aluminum Pots & Pans
A large portion of cookware sold today is made out of aluminum. Manufacturers love to use it because it’s both lightweight and heats evenly.
But there’s a big downside to cooking with aluminum. If the protective anodized coating gets any scratches on its surface, this will allow aluminum to leach into your food, especially when using acidic foods such as tomatoes.
Also, watch out for aluminum foil or what’s sometimes still called “tin” foil in Europe. Studies show using aluminum foil in cooking can dramatically increase the amount of aluminum in foods by up to 378 percent (2).
3. Drinking Water
Most people assume that their drinking water is safe. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most water supplies have multiple chemicals in them, from pesticides to prescription drugs, and even heavy metals.
In one study, for example, researchers discovered that all the water samples contained heavy metal concentrations well beyond what’s considered safe (3). This included cadmium, chromium, lead, and nickel.
Another study found that over 3,000 communities in the United States contained unsafe levels of lead in their drinking water thanks to old lead pipes and plumbing in older homes (4). Running the water before using it can help to clear the line of water that has been sitting next to lead pipes.
You can check the quality of your water system by entering your zip code into the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database. And since bottled water isn’t a safe option, opt for a home water filtration system.
4. Beauty and Self-Care Products
Everyone uses products for hygiene, beauty, and general self-care. However, many personal care products are contaminated with heavy metals, which is a concern since they’re used every day.
Makeup is one source of heavy metal exposure with one study finding that lipsticks often contain concerning levels of lead, cadmium, and aluminum (5).
Antiperspirant deodorant is a concern due to its aluminum content. Researchers have suggested that aluminum exposure through the skin from deodorant may play a role in the development of breast cancer (6).
Decorative jewelry is also a concern, with testing showing that many types have alarmingly high levels of the heavy metal cadmium, which can cause kidney and bone problems (7).
It’s not realistic to completely avoid heavy metals in personal care products. Your best bet is to choose the cleanest products available (check the EWG skin deep database) and detoxify your body with zeolite every day.
5. Ceramic Mugs, Plates, and Bowls
The glaze that artists use to create their beautiful ceramic mugs, plates, and bowls can expose you to heavy metals.
One study found that the glazed surface of mugs leached lead, cadmium, nickel, and cobalt (8). Another recent study from 2017 found that lead often leaches into coffee or tea when a ceramic mug is used (9).
This chronic exposure to lead can be quite dangerous over time. But if you use a crockpot, there is good news. Testing on ceramic cookware did not show any lead in crockpot products (10).
6. Furniture & Mattresses
Your furniture may be the last place you would think to look for heavy metals. But the sad truth is, most furniture is made using protective finishes, dyes, fabrics, and fire retardants that contain heavy metals.
This includes your sofa, mattress, computer chair, dining room table, and so on. So, every time you come into contact with your furniture, you’re potentially exposed to heavy metals and other harmful compounds.
Furthermore, some of the compounds used to make your furniture break down over time, releasing toxins in the air. Where possible, seek out furniture free of flame retardants and choose an organic mattress.
7. Old Lead Paint Residues
Even though lead paint is no longer made, a large number of old buildings still have it. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) all homes built prior to 1978 are likely to have some lead paint inside them today (11).
As lead paint deteriorates, it creates toxic lead dust that can get into the air and cover surfaces throughout the home. The CDC estimates that 24 million housing units have elevated levels of lead-contaminated dust.
Homeowners and landlords are often reluctant to remove lead paint because it’s an expensive project and dangerous if done incorrectly.
While it’s true that government regulations have provided some protection, such as banning the production of lead paint, and limiting cadmium in children’s toys, these regulations are far from enough. It’s like only plugging two holes in a sinking boat when there are 53 other holes leaking water.
That’s why it’s important that you take steps to reduce your exposure and also detoxify your body of heavy metals using liquid zeolite. By removing the heavy metals accumulated in the body, you’ll feel more energized, have better sleep quality, and experience improved focus and clarity.