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ADHD Insights: Lead Toxic ADHD

ADHD Insights: Lead Matters

Lead and ADHDNo this brief note isn’t about Led Zeppelin, it’s a reminder that lead [Periodic Table: Pb] toxicity is alive and well, and often presents as ADHD.  This is a summary of an extensive report by Mark Hyman, MD in the Huffington Post.

  1. “Nearly 40 percent of us have toxic levels of lead in our bodies. And we don’t even know it.”
  2. “You may have headaches, insomnia, irritability, a low sex drive or tremors. You may have mood problems, nausea, depression, memory difficulties, trouble concentrating, poor coordination or even constipation.”
  3. “Even though the “safe” blood levels of lead has been set as 10 micrograms/deciliter, recent studies show that the greatest drop-off in IQ scores in children occurs in those who have lead levels between just one and 10 micrograms/deciliter.“(i)
  4. “Lead is not only linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure, it is also connected to the epidemic of children with ADHD, developmental and learning problems, and autism.”
  5. “In Washington, DC, the water was so contaminated with lead recently that the government had to provide free water filters for everyone in the city. Up to 20 percent of the city’s tap water may be contaminated.”

Heavy metals in the environment create significant psych problems. Important conclusion: testing matters. Thanks, Mark, for keeping us posted on these details.

Stay tuned to these environmental ADHD, toxic elements notes on Saturdays here at ADHD Insights.


(i)Canfield, R.L., Henderson, C.R. Jr., Cory-Slechta, D.A., et al. (2003). Intellectual impairment in children with blood lead concentrations below 10 microg per deciliter. New England Journal of Medicine. 348(16):1517-26.

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