Heavy metals poisoning from lead and mercury can cause significant health problems, such as damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous and digestive systems. It is widely accepted that developing organ systems are the most sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury, and that there is no safe level of lead exposure to children.
Heavy metals are a loosely defined subset of elements with metallic properties and relatively high densities or relative atomic weights, some of which are dangerous to health and / or the environment.
IPEN's work on heavy metals currently focuses on lead (specifically, eliminating lead from paint) and mercury (including sampling of mercury in fish and human hair and work on the international mercury treaty), although IPEN has also produced data about arsenic and cadmium via product testing with a x-ray fluorescence machine.
For more information on IPEN's work on lead, please see our Eliminating Lead from Paint page.
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