Science with Richard Bleil
There was a time that, were you suffering from syphilis, you would be handed a little glass of mercury. Being that one of the symptoms of a syphilitic brain was insanity, you would take this silvery liquid metal and drink it down. It’s not clear to me if it did indeed cure the disease, but the toxicity of mercury is interesting. It absorbs through the skin and digestive track into the bloodstream, and the vapors also absorb through the lining of the lungs, but even though it’s a toxin, it doesn’t really kill. Not in the traditional way, anyway.
See, mercury is a heavy metal poison, so I’m sure tat most people treated with mercury did survive the initial procedure. Heavy metals actually don’t kill, but they do accumulate in your body. While your body is exquisitely capable of removing organics that don’t belong, including toxins, it has no way of removing heavy metals such as mercury, lead or silver in certain cleaning rags. Any heavy metals absorbed into your body, even as a child, is still with you today, and with continued exposure, it will continue to accumulate until it reaches toxic levels. The symptoms of heavy metal poisoning include uncontrollable shaking (the “mercury tremors”), hair loss, insanity and death, and once you’re dead, there’s very little that can be done for you.
The phrase “mad as a hatter” is because of mercury poisoning. Hatters used to use mercury in the manufacture of their hats and worked in very small workshops with poor ventilation. One of the greatest dangers of mercury are the vapors, mainly because they cannot be seen. The hatters were unaware that they were breathing in a heavy metal toxin, and eventually they went insane.
Salts of heavy metals tend to be very colorful and very stable. This is why, for many years, they were used as the pigment in paints in houses and fast-food glasses. The problem is that lead salts tend to have a slightly sweet flavor. This is why children sometimes eat paint chips in old homes. Today, every time a house is purchased built before a certain year, an informative flier is included with the purchase delineating the dangers of lead paint. If lead paint is present in a home, there is no law it must be removed. The easiest way to mitigate lead paint is to be sure there is no peeling and paint over it. But if you see your child eating paint in a home, get that kid tested.
Sometime in the seventies, if I’m recalling correctly, a treatment for heavy metal poisoning was developed. Called “chelation therapy”, legitimate and properly administered the chelating agent is an organic molecule specifically designed to engulf and bind to heavy metal ions. Your body can’t remove the metals, but it can remove organics. When it removes the chelated organic, it brings the heavy metals out with it. Unfortunately, the term “chelation therapy” has been adopted by charlatans who use it with all kinds of claims when, in fact, it probably does nothing. See, each heavy metal has one very specific chelating agent. Due to the size and properties of these ions, a chelating agent that works for one heavy metal won’t work for anything else.
It’s been suggested that Edgar Allen Poe suffered from heavy metal poisoning. I just watched a very old movie called “The Telltale Heart” (1941 in fact). If you’ve read Poe, you know that his stories are dark and ominous, and often not even stories at all. In The Pendulum, Poe sets up a scenario with no real storyline. You have no idea who the victim is, who put him in the pit or why, or who the rescuers are. In fact, it is stories like this that have inspired some of my short stories that I’ve published here on my blog.
The idea is that Poe (might have) suffered from heavy metal poisoning, driving him insane. It was the insanity that led him to write the dark stories that he did. But heavy metals have also been blamed for the downfall of the British royalty. During the height of the rule by the British Royal Family, the ate off of pewter plates, which at the time was quite expensive and extravagant. They would eat sliced tomatoes off of the plates, but because of the acidic content of the tomatoes, they would leach lead out of the plates. Lead heavy metal poisoning may have caused insanity in the royal family, and what’s more, sometimes somebody would die eating these tomatoes. The lead content, being leached and concentrated so much, would sometimes cause people to die quickly enough that their previous meal was suspect. For this reason, tomatoes were, for a very long time, thought to be poisonous, as people blamed the fruit instead of the plates.
If you have reason to suspect that you, or your children, have been exposed to heavy metals, have them tested. The blood tests are easy, and the treatment, administered by doctors, is quick and painless. But don’t try to treat it with holistic healers. There is a case of a young girl who was constantly fighting heavy metal poisoning. The doctor would identify it, and treat it successfully, but shortly afterwards she was again fighting heavy metal poisoning. They tested her house, water, food, everything they could think of, but she routinely ended up needing the treatment over and over again. As it turns out, after each chelation treatment from the doctors, her mother took her to a holistic “healer”, who always gave her a tea to replace the important nutrients the doctors presumably removed to get her back in balance. As it turns out, that tea was high in mercury, and the source of the continuing heavy metal poisoning. I’m not going to say that all holistic healers are bad, and some of those potions really do have benefits, but be careful. Most holistic healers are in it for the money, just as the major pharmaceutical companies.