As soon as I learned about the devastating public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, where the water supply was dangerously contaminated with lead, I knew I had to take a deep dive into the medical literature to see if there is anything that could be done diet-wise to reduce their body burden.
I did discover there were foods that could help, such as garlic, but I also learned about cautionary tales like our shameful history with leaded paint and leaded gasoline. By learning these lessons, hopefully, we can put more critical thought into preventing future disasters that can arise when our society allows profits to be placed over people.
We have known for thousands of years that lead can be toxic, but simply ending use of leaded paint and leaded gasoline hasn’t eradicated it from our lives. Lead toxicity remains a major public health problem. A debilitating neurotoxin, it can cause learning disabilities and attention deficits in children and high blood pressure and nerve damage in adults. Very low levels of lead may be associated with health risks, suggesting there is no such thing as a “safe” level of exposure.
Indoor firing ranges and even open-air outdoor shooting ranges can be problematic, and some supplements, cosmetics, and specific foods have been found to be contaminated with lead, such as eggs and bone broth. For most adults, however, the source of ongoing lead exposure is from our own skeleton, deposited in our bones. Indeed, more than 90 percent of the total lead content in our bodies resides in our bones, where the half-life can be decades long. As the lead leaches out of our bones back into our bloodsteam, it can serve as a persistent source of toxicity.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Wikipedia. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Lead
All Videos for Lead
Using the Cigarette Tax Playbook Against Big Food
How might we replicate one of our great public health victories—the reduction of smoking rates—in the field of nutrition?
Lychee Fruit and Hypoglycin: How Many Are Too Many?
There is a toxin in lychee fruit that can be harmful, but only under certain circumstances?
Are Aluminum Pots, Bottles, and Foil Safe?
DNA damage is assessed in users of aluminum cookware.
Avoiding Fish for 5 Years Before Pregnancy
The problem with fish advisories that tell pregnant women to cut down on fish is that it may be too late for certain persistent pollutants.
How Well Does Cooking Destroy the Cyanide in Flaxseeds?
Are flax seeds like bitter almonds, where just a few ounces could kill you, or more like regular almonds, where regular dietary intake wouldn’t even come close?
Is Lipstick Safe Given the Lead Contamination?
Dozens of lipsticks and lip glosses are put to the test.
Can Saunas Detoxify Lead from the Body?
How much does sweating via sauna or exercise get rid of lead and mercury?
Is Henna Safe?
Is there risk of lead and PPD contamination of red and black henna?
Is Organic Meat Less Carcinogenic?
Researchers tested 76 samples of different kinds of organic and conventional meats for 33 different carcinogens.
How to Lower Heavy Metal Levels with Diet
What dietary change can simultaneously help detoxify mercury, lead, and cadmium from the body?