Articles by Dr. Arnold

Articles by Dr. Arnold

Small RhombusHealth articles by Dr. Fred Arnold focus on prolotherapy, pain rehabilitation and natural healing.

Articles by Dr. Fred Arnold

Dr. Fred Arnold



The Center for Disease control classifies lead poisoning as an environmental disease. Plumbism is a term that has been used to describe lead poisoning in the body and dates back to the ancient Romans used lead extensively in their cooking utensils and pots, leaden wine urns, lead plumbing, vessels to concentrate grape juice, containers used to store wine, and lead-based makeup. Although, they were aware that lead could cause serious health problems, even madness and death, they were so fond of its diverse uses they minimized the health hazards it posed. What they did not realize was the everyday low-level exposure to lead made them vulnerable to chronic lead poisoning.

Even though lead has been known to have detrimental health risks for centuries, it has continued to be utilized in a variety of ways that have affected human health. In 1924 workers engaged in producing lead as an additive to gasoline fell sick and died at several refineries in the country. The Surgeon General in 1925 unsuccessfully suspended the production and sale of leaded gasoline. It was not until1986 , more than sixty years after lead was introduced as a gasoline additive was it outlawed due to its know health hazards.

Just because you seem healthy does not mean you do not have high levels of lead in your blood or stored in your body. Signs and symptoms usually don’t present themselves until the accumulation of lead has reached dangerous amounts. Early symptoms of lead exposure may include persistent fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, stomach discomfort and/or constipation, reduced attention span, and insomnia. Failure to treat lead poisoning in the early stages can cause long-term or permanent health damage, but because of the general nature of symptoms at early stages, lead poisoning is often not suspected.

In adults, lead poisoning can cause poor muscle coordination, nerve damage to the sense organs and nerves controlling the body, peripheral neuropathy, joint pain, muscle pain, increased blood pressure, hearing and vision impairment, nausea, constipation, anti-social (criminal behavior), reproductive problems (e.g., decreased sperm count), and retarded fetal development even at relatively low exposure levels. Seizures, coma and death may occur at very high levels. In children, lead poisoning can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, behavioral problems, anemia, liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, hyperactivity, developmental delays, and in extreme cases, death. 3.

It should be realized that lead is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease that includes hypertension, coronary artery disease, IDCM, myocardial infarction, stroke and chronic kidney disease. In a 1996 article in the Journal American Medical Association, “our findings suggest that long-terms lead accumulation, as reflected by levels of lead in bone, may be an independent risk factor for developing hypertension in men in the general population.

Sources of Lead
Sources of lead include glazed jugs-red/yellow, lead crystal 12 – 28%, herbal medicine, paint, varnish, polishes, dirt in your garden, paint chips, jewelry (has lead and cadmium), lipstick (61% of lipsticks contain lead), purses, vinyl blinds, candles (burning candles with lead in their wicks can raise the concentration of lead in the air, as much as 36 times allowed by the EPA).

Nitric Oxide and Lead
Nitric oxide is an extremely important chemical in our body. It is needed to support our overall health, and poises a cardiovascular risk when it is diminished. It is known that nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, reduces platelet stickiness, prevents formation of plaque, and reduces oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a major component of plaque. Studies indicate that lead has an inhibitory effect on the nitric oxide formation and provides clinical evidence for a biological mechanism possibly involving the association between lead exposure and increased cardiovascular risk.

Testing for Toxic Metals
Testing for Toxic metals such as lead can be done in a variety of different ways. Blood is considered the gold standard for acute exposure. However, it must be realized that after short term exposure the toxic metal is then absorbed into the body and no long elevated in the blood. The urine is the accepted for of assessing the stored or body burden of a toxic metal. A challenge test is performed with a chelator such as EDTA. After the chelation challenge test has been performed, the urine is collected for the next 6 hours and then analyzed for toxic metals that are stored in the body. Hair is another method of analysis; however, it is not as accurate and rarely recommended. According to the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003, the most reliable methods of measuring body lead burden are bone x-ray fluorescence studies and calcium disodium EDTA mobilization tests.

Treatment Strategies
In regards to treatment strategies, the first is to avoid exposure: remove lead pain from your home, drink filtered water, choose herbal products tested for heavy metals. It was found that one fifth of both US manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the internet contain detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.

A second treatment strategies would be sweating: sauna and exercise remove heavy metals.

Sweating is a consideration as tolerated by each individual and their health condition. Sweating as tolerated via exercise is preferred and/or use of a sauna as a low-risk, potentially beneficial treatment for individuals who may be experiencing effects of toxic elements.

A third treatment strategy is EDTA Chelation Therapy. Calcium EDTA chelation is a FDA approved treatment for the treatment of lead toxicity. This treatment should only be performed by a qualified physician trained in the proper methods to effectively and safely remove lead and other heavy metals from the body. Other Non-FDA approved uses of EDTA chelation include treating chronic heavy metal accumulation, treating renal insufficiency, and management of atherosclerosis.

The TACT Study
The National Institutes of Health, including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and NCCAM, sponsored the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT)—the first large-scale, multicenter study designed to determine the safety and efficacy of disodium EDTA chelation therapy for individuals with coronary heart disease. Results from TACT were published in the March 27, 2013, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) has proven that chelation works! This double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study was conducted over a 10 year period at a cost of $31 million dollars. According to Dr. Roy Heilbron, MD, “The results of the study showed Chelation plus Vitamins Improved: 26% , Overall improvement in heart health: 18%, Diabetic heart complications reduced: 39%, Hospitalizations reduced: 28%, Heart Attacks reduced: 23%, Strokes reduced: 23%, Heart Surgeries reduced: 19% and Death Reduced: 7%. 1.

Lead is one of the most toxic metals known to man and presents a wide variety of health conditions. Although, the dangers of lead have been know for centuries, lead continues to be used in industry and poses a signification health risk to children and adults. If you are experiencing health problems as listed above, you may have an elevated body burden of lead, or some other heavy metal. A challenge test of EDTA is an effective way to evaluate the body’s burden of lead and other heavy metals.. EDTA chelation is a proven FDA treatment to reduce toxic levels of lead and should be performed by a trained physician.

  1. Heilbron, Roy MD, TACT, Diabetes, What You Need to Know for the Examination, and Clinical Applications, ACAM Chelation Course, 2014
  2. Morrison, Jeffery, M.D., Toxic Metals, Cardiovascular Disease, and EDTA Chelation Therapy, ACAM Chelation Course, 2014
  3. U.S. EPA. Air Quality Criteria for Lead (2006) Final Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC