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Toxic Metals that Contribute to Depression

Toxic Metals that Contribute to Depression

Depression can be caused by a number of different variables—some internal, some external. When analyzing the cause for depression, it’s important to evaluate the potentially environmental factors that may be contributing to clinical depression. One environmental factor that has been linked to depression is toxic metal. Lead, mercury and aluminum are all metals that can have harmful effects on the human body with over-exposure. Below is more detailed information about these three toxic metals that may be contribute to depression.


Lead is a natural by-product of our industrialized society. As a heavy metal, lead is toxic to the body in large doses. Toxic levels can accumulate in our bodies over time through small amounts stored in the body’s fat cells. A depressed mental state can occur from lead poisoning. Following are situations to be aware of when evaluating your exposure to environmental lead:

Food in cans—Lead-soldered cans have a rougher seam than non-lead—soldered cans, which have a smooth seam or a rounded bottom. Food stored in lead-soldered cans have significantly higher levels of lead. The level of lead in these foods can soar when the can is opened and exposed to air, and when the food inside is not removed but stored in the can itself.

Eating ware—Under-fired pottery can contain large amounts of lead, especially if imported from other countries with different environmental standards. Lead crystal is also something to be aware of. Even when the material of the pottery is lead free, there are lead-based enamels that can flake off or emit lead fumes. Again, be aware of pottery from outside the United States and produced nonprofessionally.

Older plumbing fixtures—Lead was often used in older plumbing and piping. Water that stands in those pipes will absorb lead and contaminate your household drinking water.

Paint—From the 1950s and earlier, paint was routinely made with lead. Even if that older contaminated paint has been covered over, any sanding or scraping can create lead-filled dust, from which lead can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Asian medications—Certain medications prepared by traditional Asian methods can contain toxic levels of lead.


Aluminum can cause depressive symptoms and is found in the following:

Antacid5—Many have aluminum in them, as well as lead, found in bone meal and oyster-shell calcium supplements.

Dialysis—Bones in those who undergo chronic dialysis have aluminum levels of nine to fifty times the norm.

Aluminum cookware—These pots and pans can leach aluminum into acidic liquids, including fluoridated water.

Tap water—In some cities with outdated water-treatment facilities, tap water can contain excessive aluminum.

Aluminum salts—These ingredients can appear in foods, processed cheese, spices, and baking powder.

Personal care products—Some antiperspirants and deodorants rely on a form of aluminum.

Old appliances—Corroded air conditioners or aluminum-core water heaters can give off aluminum.


Mercury poisoning can produce depression, and this highly toxic heavy metal can be found in the following:

Mercury amalgam dental fillings—When present in our mouths, they continue to emit mercury with every bite, every chew, when we grind our teeth, or when we drink hot liquids.

Over-the-counter pharmaceuticals containing thimerosal or sodium ethyl mercury—These mercury-based ingredients can be found in certain antiseptics, ointments, cosmetics, Over-the-counter pharmaceuticals containing thimerosal or sodium ethyl mercury—These mercury-based ingredients can be found in certain antiseptics, ointments, cosmetics, laxatives, eye drops, contraceptive gels, and douches.

Broken equipment, such as fluorescent lighting, thermometers, and certain scientific equipment—As the use of fluorescent lighting increases due to its energy efficiency, the mercury in old tubes presents an increasingly difficult disposal problem.

Household products—This category includes items such as fabric softeners, floor polishes, wood preservatives, adhesives, fungicides, paints, dyes, tattoos, and fabrics.

Fish products—Some seafood absorbs and stores high concentrations of mercury found in their environment. People who eat this seafood will build up high levels of mercury. This has been known to occur in tuna, swordfish, shellfish, and seaweed.

Occupational exposure—Professionals who routinely work with mercury, such as dentists and dental personnel, embalmers, photographers, painters, and those working around batteries or pressure gauges can have elevated levels of mercury in their bodies.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, there could be many issues contributing to their depression, including toxic metal exposure. At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we look at the whole person, and evaluate each individual’s environmental, relational, physical, emotional and spiritual history and health. Together, these elements provide keys to understanding why a person is depressed and open a doorway to his or her recovery. Whole-person care is the foundation of our practice. If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and are ready to find true recovery and joy, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.

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