32 Surprising Sources of Toxic Heavy Metals

Heavy metal is a serious threat to the health of your body and brain. I’m not referring to Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica here, although too much head-banging has probably damaged more than a few brain cells.  I’m referring to the metals found in food, water, air and many commercially-available products. Products you or your family or pets may interact with every day.

Don’t panic—power is knowledge. Use this list of toxins, and the surprising places they might be lurking, to inform your buying decisions.


Although not technically a heavy metal, aluminum is a metal that can pose a serious threat to health, particularly with excessive exposure. It has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Aluminum is found in:

-Baby formula

-Baked goods and processed foods


-Over-the-counter and prescription antacids

-Other pharmaceutical drugs as a binding agent

-Aluminum pots and pans


-Skin cream

Golden retriever dog lying on sofa, close-up


Cadmium has serious repercussions for the brain and inhibits the body’s ability to use nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium, leaving people more vulnerable to bone and immune system disorders.  Cadmium is found in:

-Automobile seat covers

-Black rubber

-Burned motor oil



-Evaporated milk


-Floor coverings



-Refined wheat flour (white flour)

-Silver polish

-Soft drinks from vending machines with cadmium in the pipes

 Man smoking a cigarette


Linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, aggression, hyperactivity and many other health issues.  It is found in:

-Canned food

-Cigarette smoke (firsthand or secondhand)

-Colored, glossy newsprint

-Some ceramic dishes

-Lead paint in older homes

-Lead water pipes in older buildings

-Refined chocolate

-Vehicle emissions (yes, even though lead gasoline was banned two decades ago in some countries)

 Close up of salmon dish with asparagus


Known for its speedy ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to affect the brain, mercury is linked to neurological, psychological and immunological disorders in people, including diseases like Alzheimer’s.  It has also been linked to heart arrhythmias, headaches, blurred vision and weakness. It is found in:

-Dental fillings: Many dentists cite studies that show no mercury particles were released from fillings but numerous studies show that mercury is primarily released as a vapor to gain access to the brain and blood.

-Fish: Not all fish, but many farmed varieties tend to be contaminated with mercury.

-Immunizations: Many vaccines, even those used for children contain the mercury-based preservative thimerosol in excessive amounts, for both children and adults.

Adapted with permission from The Brain Wash by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD. Consult The Brain Wash for a complete list of references for this article.

Is Chelation Therapy a Safe Way to Detoxify Heavy Metals?
10 Ways to Remove Toxic Heavy Metals From Your Life
How Much Lead is in My Lipstick?

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the upcoming book: : Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.


Laura K
Laura Kyesterday

Good to know. Thanks.

Marija M
Marija M6 days ago


Donn M
Donn M11 days ago

Given these lists it's pretty obvious we are all going to be unable to avoid exposure to heavy toxic metals.

Carl R
Carl R14 days ago


Christian Menges
Christian Menges14 days ago

World sucks

Carl R
Carl R16 days ago


Angela K
Angela K16 days ago

thanks for sharing

Jess B
Jess B16 days ago


Clare R
Clare R17 days ago

Very detailed info... thanks for posting

Julie B
Julie B18 days ago

All these toxins are a hazard in alit products etc. Good to know which to avoid. I did read as tinned tomatoes not too good. Notice how some tinned tomatoes have a coated inside. Plus tomatoes are being sold in tetra packets and glass. With peoples busy lifestyles ~ perhaps these hazards go by un~noticed. This is a very good way to interact with people and share the useful information