Heavy metals naturally occur in our environment. Even so, they aren’t the kind of substances you’ll want in your body. Each of the common heavy metals produces different reactions within the body. In some cases, metals of this nature may contribute to heavy metal poisoning or certain diseases and illnesses. Here’s what you need to know about heavy metals and how to avoid drinking them.
Signs You Have Issues with Heavy Metals
It’s not always easy to tell if you have heavy metals in your drinking water. The symptoms related to heavy metal ingestion can range from mild to severe, although they tend to develop slowly over time. Some of the common symptoms associated with heavy metal exposure include:
- Diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- General weakness
The World Health Organization (WHO) has cited the United States as one of the countries in the world with higher levels of arsenic in groundwater. Other common heavy metals that may be in your household water include copper, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and lead. More specific symptoms are associated with each of the different heavy metals. With mercury poisoning, for instance, you might notice a lack of coordination, speech and hearing issues, vision changes, or nerve damage in your hands or face.
Get Your Water Tested
The first step you can take to avoid drinking heavy metals is to get your water tested for the presence of heavy metals. The results will determine if there are high amounts of any common heavy metals in your household water. You’ll be more likely to avoid drinking heavy metals if you know for sure what’s in the water coming into your home.
Avoid Seafood with High Levels of Mercury
If it turns out that you are being exposed to higher-than-normal levels of heavy metal in your drinking water, taking additional steps to avoid upping those levels even more can be helpful. Seafood is a good starting point. Not all seafood is loaded with heavy metals. In fact, many types of seafood are a reliable source of beneficial nutrients.
What you will want to avoid, however, is seafood with high levels of mercury. Specifically, this means avoiding excessive consumption of:
- Bigeye and ahi tuna
Have Pipes Checked and Replaced (If Necessary)
Most homes constructed prior to 1980 have lead solder that was used to secure pipe joints. Some homes also have issues with lead and copper in serve lines and other types of household plumbing. If testing shows high levels of heavy metals in your home, one of the culprits could be your plumbing. A thorough plumbing inspection can determine if the issue may be your pipes. If it is, you may benefit from appropriate plumbing updates.
Don’t Frequently Use Old Dishware
Old ceramic dishware may contain lead. If you normally use older dishware, it’s best to only use it for special occasions. Choose non-toxic plates and related accessories for everyday use.
Replace Mercury Thermometers with Digital Ones
It may seem unlikely that an old mercury thermometer could break and get into your household drinking water. Still, it’s best to err on the side of caution and replace mercury thermometers, especially ones used in your kitchen or dining area, with newer digital ones.
Be Cautious with Herbicides
If you regularly work in the garden around your home, be aware that some herbicides contain heavy metals. Take time to choose products of this nature that do not contain heavy metal levels.
Check the Content of Your Medications
It may seem like a long-shot, but certain medications do contain heavy metals as key ingredients. Check the specific contents of any medications you normally take on a regular basis. If you notice unusually high levels of heavy metals, talk to your doctor about the possibility of changing to other medications that still address your health-related problems.
Replace Older Paint
Older homes are more likely to have lead paint. According to the EPA, the consumer use of lead-containing paint was banned in 1978. So, if you have a home that’s older than this and you haven’t updated your paint, this is a step worth taking.
Another way to avoid heavy metals in your drinking water is to use a reliable water filter. A top-quality filter can leave you with cleaner household water that’s also healthier and safer to use and drink on a regular basis. Ultimately, you deserve drinking water that’s not going to negatively affect your health and live a happier life. With the proper precautions, you can achieve this goal and enjoy much-appreciated peace of mind.