Unveiling the Horrific Impact of Heavy Metals on Children
From Womb to World: Exploring the Alarming Influence of Heavy Metals on Children's Development and Well-being
This is the second release in my heavy metals series, if you havent already, please check out the first article from the series
If you ever want to see a truly horrifying epidemic, a visit to an American children's hospital would be nothing short but depressing. Unfortunately, you will find an alarming number of sickly children, their plight united by a common thread: the betrayal of their own immune systems.
Autoimmune disorders, cancer, type one diabetes, obesity, and a host of other afflictions are not only proliferating among the adult populace, but also reaching bewildering numbers in children. These children are really the canary in the coal mine of society, a true reflection of our society's well-being.
In an ideal world, children ought to exude a strong, resilient, and robust sense of health—not suffer from severe cases of metabolic dysfunction. That is, unless, the environment they were thrown into was setting them up for failure from the start.
The environment in which we reside wields massive influence over our health outcomes. When the healthiest demographic of our society begins facing immense health challenges, it becomes important to delve into the upstream issues, looking deeper than just "treatments" and "sick care."
Toxins From… Birth?
A few years ago, an article from Harvard Health1 gained significant popularity as it elucidated a report from the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The report uncovered something ridiculous in relation to popular baby food formulas—the presence of perilous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
For a developing infants brain, heavy metals are precisely the last thing it needs! The incontrovertible truth about heavy metals and children is that they point to bad conclusions.
What Heavy Metals Do to Children
For example, arsenic, a heavy metal commonly found in rice or poor drinking water, has been linked to lower IQ scores in children between 3rd and 5th grade2.
What were once unheard of disabilities like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, have now had an exponential surge in prevalence. Some researchers are now pointing to environmental toxins as a likely contributor3, due to the intrinsically neurotoxic affects these pollutants induce, particularly in developing brains.
On the same vein, heavy metals have been shown to cause respiratory problems, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases in children4.
While many children are being exposed to these metals growing up day to day, some unfortunate ones are being exposed to heavy metals from the womb! During pregnancy, a mother passes on essential nutrients, minerals, fatty acids (like omega 3, essential for brain development), and just about anything else a child needs to grow.
Yet, mothers also pass on non essential toxic compounds like heavy metals5 . Depending on what a child receives in the womb, can predetermine certain health predictors, like potential autoimmune ailments.
A really fascinating study wanted to examine this exact concept, specifically in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and the contributing factors. Over a 16 year period 15,740 children’s health status’ were followed. Of those who developed JIA, a positive correlation to high “concentrations of Al, Cd, Hg and Li in cord blood”6 was identified.
Meaning, when they examined the placental blood from which these children were born with, high concentrations of toxic metals were found.
The crucial point to grasp is that toxins have the potential to shape an individual's future well-being right from the moment of conception. No doubt, this news can be a bit overwhelming and disconcerting. However, the fact remains that exposure to toxins is an inevitable aspect of being a modern human.
Nonetheless, it is essential to recognize that there are some amazing tools available to address this issue. As alluded to in my previous article, I will be further embarking on a series of articles dedicated to heavy metals, offering a complete picture of the issue at hand.
Grandjean P, Landrigan PJ. Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. Lancet Neurol. 2014 Mar;13(3):330-8. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3. Epub 2014 Feb 17. PMID: 24556010; PMCID: PMC4418502.
Al Osman M, Yang F, Massey IY. Exposure routes and health effects of heavy metals on children. Biometals. 2019 Aug;32(4):563-573. doi: 10.1007/s10534-019-00193-5. Epub 2019 Apr 2. PMID: 30941546.
Wai KM, Mar O, Kosaka S, Umemura M, Watanabe C. Prenatal Heavy Metal Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Myanmar: A Birth-Cohort Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Nov 3;14(11):1339. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14111339. PMID: 29099808; PMCID: PMC5707978.