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ADHD Causes: Lead and Heavy Metal Poisoning

The toxic effects of mercury and lead poisoning have been known to scientists for decades.  In fact, historians blame the first incidents of lead poisoning from drinking water that traveled through lead pipes after the decline of the Roman Empire. Yet only recently have researchers confirmed the link between low-level exposure to heavy metal and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  These metals are considered “neurotoxins,” meaning they can adversely affect brain development, performance, and synapse function in young children and babies in utero.  Today, there is a growing body of studies that demonstrate that these heavy metals cause a lot of damage to developing brains and nervous systems, and that there is no such thing as “safe” levels of these toxins in the body.

A child may be exposed to lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals through any of the following:

  • Dental amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are made up of 40% mercury, nickel, cadmium, and copper. Although most dentists no longer use amalgam fillings today, contamination through dental amalgams usually occurs during pregnancy, as mercury leaks out of amalgams.
  • Paint. Although lead is no longer an ingredient in paint these days, older buildings may still have paint with lead. Children who live in old apartment buildings where lead still exists in the paint or plumbing may be at risk. 
  • Mercury from older vaccines, when a derivative of mercury was added as a preservative, may be a problem.
  • Pesticides, including spray used indoors.
  • Common household chemicals like nail polish, acetone, and perchloroethylene, a chemical used in dry cleaning.

A number of recent studies show that there is a statistically significant correlation between lead exposure, low IQ, disruptive classroom behavior, and the inability to pay attention. In 2007, researchers from Michigan State University discovered that low levels of lead in the blood – levels that were thought to be safe – may trigger ADHD and other learning disorders in young children.  The researchers examined 150 children with and without ADHD, and discovered that they all had some levels of lead in their blood.  Children with ADHD, however, had higher levels of lead than children without the disorder. 

A year before that study was published, Dr. Philippe Grandjean, an Environmental Health professor at Harvard, published a paper that suggested that industrial chemicals must be evaluated for the harm they might do to developing brains. He pointed out that these chemicals might be responsible for a “silent pandemic” of neurological disorders that commonly occur during fetal and childhood development. One of the paper’s main points was that even if moderate amounts of lead and mercury were necessary to cause neurological damage in adults, all it takes are small amounts for these neurotoxins to damage developing brains in babies and small children.  

Because of the presence of so many pollutants and neurotoxins in our environment, a detoxification program should be an essential component of any treatment plan for ADHD. In the UnRitalin Solution, we run tests on your child to see whether he or she has any lead, mercury, or other neurotoxins in the body. If any toxins are found, a detoxification program will begin immediately so these heavy metals can be expelled from the body naturally.  Part of the detoxification will involve identifying the source of these pollutants and eliminating them, so that neurotoxins will no longer impede your child’s development.