Heavy metals testing is used to screen for or to diagnose heavy metal poisoning in those who may have been acutely or chronically exposed to one or more heavy metals and to monitor excessive metal concentrations in those who work with various heavy metals. Such occupations include construction work, mining, radiator repair shops, and firing ranges. Testing is also conducted to monitor the effectiveness of chelation therapy, a treatment to rid the body of high amounts of a heavy metal.
Care must be taken in the interpretation of heavy metals tests. A low level of a heavy metal in the blood does not necessarily mean that excessive exposure has not occurred. Heavy metals do not stay in the blood and will not be present in the urine for extended periods of time. Lead, for instance, migrates from the blood into the body’s organs and over time is incorporated into the bones. If someone was chronically exposed to lead, then that person might have lead in his or her blood, urine, organs, and bones.
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