My family was exposed to lead, arsenic and aluminum from our soil, so I've done extensive research on heavy metals and how to remove them. I've sent you an e-mail with my phone number, please let me know if you do not receive it. I have too much information to fit in a thread. If anyone else would like more info, please feel free to e-mail me by going to "Members List", finding my user name, and choosing the e-mail option.
Some of the key points to know about lead:
1. Lead stays in the blood for only 30 days, so a blood test shows only if the lead exposure occurred within the last 30 days. Lead can remain in the body much longer and can be stored and re-enter the blood later in life.
2. A finger prick test can be very inaccurate, many doctors now refuse to use it, and rely only on blood draws.
3. A hair analysis is a more reliable test to determine long-term exposure as lead is excreted into the hair during the entire time period that the body is trying to rid itself of the lead.
4. Lead may be found in old paint, old water pipes or water heaters, soil, paint on children's wooden or plastic toys (toys made in China have been recalled repeatedly for excess lead) and also in new water faucets and brass fittings (brass needs lead in order to be machined to form the fittings and internal faucet parts). It takes about 1 year for the lead to stop leaching from new faucets with metal parts.
5. Lead is absorbed into the body through breathing airborne particles and from ingestion. Washing hands everytime before eating is a major protective measure to take.
6. If the lead exposure is coming from the soil or lead paint, mop your floors rather than sweeping or vacuuming, as sweeping and vacuuming cause the lead to become airborne. Also, use a damp cloth to dust. If you have carpet, and therefore must use a vacuum, make certain it has a very good HEPA filter. The Dyson vacuum cleaner does indeed have cleaner air coming out than going in, so it may be an effective choice.
7. If the lead is coming from your water source, let your water run for a minimum of 1 to 2 minutes before using to flush the water that the lead has leached into out of the pipes. Hot water causes a greater amount of lead to leach into it, so always use cold water to cook with. Heating water concentrates the lead.
8. Websites I used to obtain tests:
Water - http://ntllabs.com
Soil - http://www.spl-inc.com
Hair - http://www.arltma.com
You can also have a garden soil test done by UVM in VT. There is an option to check for lead on their form. However, their instructions for taking a sample are based on the soil the vegetables come in contact with. To test your soil for your family's exposure, make sure to collect the top layer only to a depth of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
The hair analysis requires a Doctor to send it in, but if your Dr. is not familiar with them, I'm sure ARL can refer you to one who is.
9. One thing to remember about the home test you find at Home Depot, they usually only test lead at levels above 50ppm. You can have a much lower level of lead and still have problems and exposure from it.
10. If you do have lead in your soil, try to make sure there are no bare spots. Lead contact is much lower when the soil is coverd by grass, gravel, rock, etc.
11. To reduce the amount of lead entering a person's body, be sure to eat often. An empty stomach absorbs lead much more easily.
12. Lead occupies the cell receptor sites that are reserved for calcium. A diet rich in calcium helps to block lead from being absorbed. Calcium from green leafy vegetables tends to be the most easily absorbed by the body. Kale and Collards have a lot.
13. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, (particularly green leafy vegs such as broccoli, lettuce, dandelion greens, etc.) and whole foods will remove much of the lead by binding it with the fiber and pectin. The vitamins and minerals in the fruits and vegetables will assist also. Raw or lightly steamed will be the most effective (puree for the baby). Preferably organic if you can.
14. Chlorella algae, fresh garlic, and cilantro are very effective in removing lead. You can use them separately, but they work most effectively when all 3 are eaten during the same day. (I use the brand Sun Chlorella. You can find it at Healthy Living in South Burlington.) For children, start with 1 tablet per day per year of age. Too much chlorella will cause diarrhea, so if it does, reduce the dosage. It's very unlikely at the dosage I mentioned.
15. If you're nursing, your child can absorb a lot of these nutrients from you if you eat the above foods. Also, it is believed that less than 10% of the lead you ingest will transfer to the breast milk, so if you are nursing, please don't be too concerned about double exposure.
16. Juicing the greens will make them even more easily absorbed. Add apple or carrots so that the greens are not too strong. Use your sense of taste as a judge. For a child, mix half and half with water. For a baby, start with mostly water and work up gradually.
Overall, removing the source of exposure and following the healthy diet mentioned above will help tremendously. The methods mentioned above lowered my family's lead levels effectively (along with their arsenic and aluminum levels as well).