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.


Danuta W
Danuta Wabout an hour ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

Fred Campbell
Fred Campbellabout an hour ago

Thanks for the warnings.

Jaime J
Jaime J3 hours ago

Thank you!!

ERIKA S3 hours ago

poisons are everywhere

Colin Clauscen
Colin C4 hours ago

Some of the items on the lists I never knew, I am old and not worried but for young children it is a big worry

Thomas S
Thomas S4 hours ago

such a wonderful world we live in

Ruth Rakotomanga
Ruth Rakotomanga5 hours ago

Lead in chocolate! Oh no!
(BTW, how come only evaporated milk is contaminated with cadmium?)

Mona M
Mona M6 hours ago

Thank you. May be the list will be shorter and more inspiring for readers if you inform about healthy and non-denatured sources.

Glennis W
Glennis W7 hours ago

Very informative Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W7 hours ago

Great information Thank you for caring and sharing