Heavy Metal Tests

The heavy metal tests will check for heavy metal poisoning with a simple blood test known as a heavy metal panel or toxicity test.  Order from Ulta Lab Tests today with results sent confidentially online.


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Individuals undergoing hemodialysis are at risk for aluminum toxicity. Prolonged accumulation may cause encephalkopathy, and vitamin d-resistant osteomalacia. Also workers exposed to high levels or to long-term low levels of aluminum dust are at increased risk of toxicity.

Arsenic is widely distributed in the earth's crust. Arsenic is used in some pesticides and industrial applications. Arsenic toxicity can cause skin change, respiratory illness, nausea and vomiting, and other effects.

This assay is used to monitor exposure to arsenic, wellness, and therapy during treatment of chronic myelocytic leukemia.

Arsenic is widely distributed in the earth's crust. Arsenic is used in some pesticides and industrial applications. Arsenic toxicity can cause skin changes, respiratory illness, nausea and vomiting, and other effects

Beta-2-microglobulin normally passes through the glomerulus into the proximal tubule where much of it is reabsorbed. Serum levels are therefore an index of glomerular function. When impaired, serum levels rise in inverse ratio to glomerular filtration rate. Increased amounts of beta-2-microglobulin are excreted in several renal disorders, e.g., Balkan nephropathy, heavy metal poisoning and renal tubular disease due to therapeutic agents. Serial levels of beta-2-microglobulin in serum and urine are used to evaluate transplant viability and anticipate rejection. Following a successful graft, serum levels decline toward normal. Increasing serum levels provide an early sign of rejection. Elevated levels are also noted in lymphproliferative disorders, neoplasms (malignant and benign), inflammatory disease, and autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Sjögren's disease

Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is mined and used in industrial production because of its durability. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is mined and used in industrial production because of its durability. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is mined and used in industrial production because of its durability. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

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This assay is useful to monitor exposure to chromium, progress of medical treatment or determine nutritional status.

Occupational exposure and exposure to environmental contamination of chromium may lead to toxicity. The need for chromium supplements is unproven. Supplements taken in excess may also lead to chromium toxicity.

Chromium is used in the manufacturing of stainless steel and for plating other metals. It is also a component of cement. Chromic acid or its salts constitute an industrial hazard. They may lead to ulceration of the skin and respiratory passages. Ingestion can cause violent gastroenteritis.


Occupational exposure and exposure to environmental contamination of Chromium may lead to toxicity. The need for Chromium supplements is unproven. Supplements taken in excess may also lead to Chromium toxicity.


Cobalt is part of our diet. Approximately 85% of absorbed cobalt is excreted in the urine and the remainder eliminated in stool. Toxicity may occur in select industrial environments. Colbalt is not mined in the United States, so primary supplies are imported

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Cobalt is part of our diet. Approximately 85% of absorbed cobalt is excreted in the urine and the remainder eliminated in stool. Toxicity may occur in select industrial

Cobalt is part of our diet. Approximately 85% of absorbed cobalt is excreted in the urine and the remainder eliminated in stool. Toxicity may occur in select industrial environments. Cobalt is not mined in the United States so primary supplies are imported


Copper is an essential element that is a cofactor of many enzymes. Copper metabolism is disturbed in Wilson's disease, Menkes disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, and Indian childhood cirrhosis. Copper concentrations increase in acute phase reactions and during the third trimester of pregnancy. Copper concentrations are decreased with nephrosis, malabsorption, and malnutrition. Copper concentrations are also useful to monitor patients, especially preterm newborns, on nutritional supplementation. Results of copper are often interpreted together with ceruloplasmin.


Excessive exposure to heavy metals can cause acute chronic toxicity. Heavy metals panel is intended to evaluate and monitor exposure to heavy metals and evaluate the process of detoxification. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Heavy Metals Panel II, Blood

  • Aluminum
  • Arsenic, Blood
  • Cadmium, Blood
  • Lead, Blood
  • Mercury, Blood

Includes

Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Creatinine

Patient Preparation

Avoid seafood consumption for 48 hours prior to collection


Excessive exposure to Heavy Metals can cause acute and chronic toxicity. Heavy Metals Panel is intended to evaluate and monitor exposure to heavy metals and evaluate the process of detoxification.

Useful in the diagnosis of toxicity due to Arsenic, Lead or Mercury.

Includes

Arsenic, Mercury, Lead, Creatinine

Patient Preparation

Avoid seafood consumption for 48 hours prior to collection

Excessive exposure to heavy metals can cause acute and chronic toxicity. Heavy Metals Panel is intended to evaluate and monitor exposure to heavy metals and evaluate the process of detoxification.



The World Health Organization has a list of ten chemicals that are of concern to public health. 

These are chemicals that can enter our bloodstream and cause severe damage to our health. Some of the chemicals on that list are heavy metals.

How can you find out if you have been exposed to heavy metals? How can you minimize your risk of exposure? 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about heavy metal poisoning and heavy metal tests. 

What Is Heavy Metal Poisoning?

Your body needs certain substances such as iron, copper, and zinc to stay healthy. However, if you accumulate too much of these substances in the body, it can lead to health problems. 

We come into regular contact with many other metals that can accumulate in your body and cause issues.

If you have excessive exposure and a heavy metal builds up in your body in unhealthy quantities, it is classed as heavy metal poisoning. 

Which Metals Are Considered Heavy Metals?

Many metals can accumulate in your soft tissue to cause heavy metal poisoning. These heavy metals include but aren't limited to: 

  • Lead
  • Iron 
  • Copper
  • Nickel 
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium 
  • Chromium 
  • Phosphorus
  • Manganese
  • Cobalt
  • Arsenic

Although many of these metals are uncommon in everyday life, there are instances when you can become exposed to unhealthy levels. 

How Does Heavy Metal Exposure Occur?

Heavy metal toxicity can occur through exposure to heavy metals in your environment. This can be through food or drink, medications, or exposure to metals at work or home. 

You can ingest the heavy metals through your food or drink. You can also breathe in dust from heavy metals if you work in a mine or industrial plant. 

Some common causes of coming into contact with heavy metals include:

  • Mining or prolonged exposure to industrial materials
  • Exposure to toxic waste
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Ingesting the pesticides used on crops
  • Breathing in the fumes from lead paint
  • Exposure to an improper coating on pans for cooking or containers for food storage
  • Eating seafood from areas with high levels of mercury in the water
  • Air pollution 

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Heavy Metal Poisoning?

Toxic heavy metal poisoning is very rare. However, exposure to heavy metals can occur from things we do every day.

For example, arsenic can be ingested in food that has dangerous levels of pesticides on it. 

Drinking water from contaminated lead pipes is another common way for heavy metals to enter our system. Lead paint used in older houses can be another source of exposure. 

Eating contaminated seafood is another way we can contact dangerous levels of mercury, for example. A lot of tuna is known to have high levels of mercury. 

Smoking exposes you to cadmium, as does shellfish and some vegetables. The production of certain plastics and batteries can also cause cadmium exposure. 

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning 

If you have come into prolonged contact with heavy metals, you may show some heavy metal toxicity symptoms. 

These symptoms are different depending on the metal you have been overly exposed to. 

The groups most affected by heavy metal exposure are pregnant women and children. It can be difficult to diagnose symptoms. If women have high levels of exposure to heavy metals during pregnancy, it can lead to miscarriage or abnormalities with the fetus. 

Other common symptoms of heavy metal poisoning include: 

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea 
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia 
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired vision 
  • Mood disorders
  • Chills 
  • Fever

There are more specific symptoms depending on the metal you have been exposed to. Here are some symptoms for the more common types of poisoning:

Mercury Poisoning 

If an individual has been exposed to mercury in excess amounts, they may feel tightness in their chest and have problems with breathing, including coughing. 

They may also experience neurological effects such as memory loss, behavior change, and poor concentration. In extreme circumstances, overexposure to mercury could cause personality disorders. 

Arsenic Poisoning 

Excessive exposure to arsenic can cause headaches, tiredness, and skin problems such as rashes. It may also cause problems with the stomach, such as diarrhea.

The symptoms take several weeks to show if someone has been poisoned with arsenic. If the poisoning is severe, the person may also suffer from fever and chills. 

Lead Poisoning 

Lead poisoning can reduce the number of red blood cells in the body, which can cause anemia and pale skin.

Other symptoms of lead poisoning include vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, abdominal pain, and even seizures. 

Cadmium Poisoning

Exposure to excessive cadmium can cause headaches, tiredness, fever, and vomiting. It can also cause abnormal function of the liver and kidneys, which can cause high protein levels in urine. 

Phosphorus Poisoning 

Phosphorus can cause twitching and muscle weakness. Other indications of phosphorus poisoning include headaches, nausea, and vomiting. 

Long-term Effects of Heavy Metals 

The long-term impacts of heavy metal exposure can be more severe. Heavy metals in the body can cause kidney damage, lung damage, organ failure, Alzheimer's disease, and many different cancers. 

The complications caused by heavy metals depend on the length of exposure you have had to them. 

Different heavy metals cause varied complications with the body. For example, lead poisoning can cause issues with reproduction and blood pressure. 

Mercury poisoning can cause issues with vision, skin issues, lung damage, and brain damage.  

If you have long-term exposure to cadmium, it can cause problems with your kidneys or lungs. 

Arsenic poisoning can cause cancer, as well as problems with neurological function. 

Heavy Metal Tests 

One of the easiest ways to find out if you have heavy metals in your system is heavy metal testing. 

You can test for different types of heavy metal with blood tests, urine tests, or hair and nail tests

The types of heavy metals that can be detected will depend on the type of test you choose. 

Blood Tests

When you take a blood test, your doctor will be able to check for healthy levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic. Blood tests tend to be the most common type of test for heavy metals.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are better for metals that accumulate in the body over the years, such as cadmium and creatinine.

How Should You Prepare For a Heavy Metals Test?

Before you take a test for heavy metals, you should avoid seafood for at least 48 hours prior.  

You should note down all your potential exposure to heavy metals to share with your physician. This includes potential exposure to harmful dust particles at work or home.

You will also need to share lifestyle details such as your diet and whether or not you smoke. 

How Do You Interpret Your Heavy Metals Test Results?

You will receive your results along with biomarkers. These markers show the healthy levels of certain metals in the body.

Your test results will be shown alongside the biomarkers, so you can see how your results compare to normal. Test results include explainers, so it is easy to interpret them without a doctor present. 

The type of test you take will depend on which heavy metals can be detected in your system. 

What If My Heavy Metal Test Comes Back Abnormal?

If you have results that show you have high levels of certain metals, it doesn't need to be a cause for worry.

High levels of heavy metals in your system don't necessarily mean you have developed any diseases associated with heavy metal exposure.

It's a positive thing; you now know which metals you have in your system and can work on preventing any further exposure to that metal. 

Order Your Heavy Metals Test With Ultra Lab Tests 

If you are concerned about any heavy metal exposure, the best way to determine if you’re experiencing heavy metal poisoning is with lab tests from Ulta Lab Tests.

The tests are easy to book online, and you can choose which type of test you require. The next step is to visit a nearby patient service center to have your blood drawn.

Once your sample has been analyzed, your results will appear online with detailed information about interpreting them. 

As the results are documented online, you can track your results over time and compare them with new tests you order later. This system also makes it easy to share the results with your healthcare provider. They will be able to help you address any concerns you may have. 

Take control of your health, and order your first test.

heavy metals panel is used to detect and measure the level of different types of heavy metal in the body. Tests like these are usually conducted using urine or blood. However, the lab may use hair, fluid, or body tissue, as well, depending on the purpose of the test. Most labs have a variety of heavy metal panels available, each designed to test for different types of metal. Some of the metals that are commonly tested for include:

  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Lead

Other metals that are frequently tested for using panels like these include zinc, copper, and cadmium. A qualified healthcare provider determines which test to order, typically basing the decision on their patient’s symptoms or on the likelihood that they were exposed to certain types of metal. 

The phrase “heavy metals” is used to describe metallic or dense elements in the periodic table. Elements like these not only occur naturally throughout the world but are also used when manufacturing many different types of products. The body requires small amounts of certain heavy metals. Examples of metals that are beneficial in trace amounts include copper, zinc, iron, selenium, and molybdenum. While these elements are helpful at extremely low levels, they can be harmful at higher concentrations.

When the body contains too much of any heavy metal, it can cause damage or irritation. Heavy metals also can contribute to environmental contamination, affecting everything from the air and soil to water and food. Once these metals enter the environment, they usually remain there forever. Since elements like these can cause harm, they are sometimes referred to as “toxic metals.”

Different types of metal can cause various symptoms. The symptoms a patient experiences can also vary based on the concentration of the metal, the amount of time they were exposed to it, how they were exposed, how old they are, and their overall level of health. Certain metals pose a greater risk than others. Different types of the same metal may also vary in terms of how toxic they are. For instance, an inorganic metal compound may be more or less harmful than its organic counterpart.

The method of exposure affects how much of the metal is absorbed by the body and which parts of the body are impacted. For instance, a metal that is harmless when touched or swallowed could be severely damaging to the lungs if it is inhaled.

Acute heavy metal exposure can damage the body, sometimes even causing death. The human body is capable of processing relatively low amounts of heavy metals. Exposure to higher concentrations of these metals, however, can cause them to build up in the liver, kidneys, brain, or skeletal system. Even low levels of exposure should be carefully tracked to monitor for any potential problems.

Exposure to certain metals may lead to a greater likelihood of getting cancer. Other metals impact the production of both white and red blood cells. Babies who are still in the womb and small children are most likely to develop problems when exposed to heavy metals, even at relatively low concentrations. Exposure to these metals can impact the mental and physical development of the child, causing irreversible damage to the brain and other organs in the body. Heavy metals can be transferred to developing fetuses from the mother. In some cases, infants can also be exposed through breastmilk.

What Sample Collection Techniques Are Used?

The sample collection method depends on the type of testing. For blood tests, the blood is taken from a vein in the arm using a needle. For urine tests, the lab requires a 24-hour urine collection. Special containers that don’t contain metal are used for collection to keep the sample from becoming contaminated.

Blood tests and urine samples are both effective when testing for toxic metals, although the forms of metal that they test for can vary. For example, a dangerous type of mercury that is commonly found in large fish shows up on blood tests but doesn’t appear in urine samples. On the other hand, urine testing is the most effective way to test for inorganic mercury or to measure arsenic levels in the body.

Analyzing the fingernails or hair can show whether or not a person was exposed to heavy metals in the past. However, these methods don’t provide any information about the exposure that occurred recently. By testing either urine or blood samples, the lab can identify both recent and long-term exposure to potentially harmful metals.

Although tissue samples aren’t used very often, there are certain situations where a biopsy may be taken.

How Should You Prepare For The Test?

During the 48 hours leading up to the test, avoid eating fish or other types of seafood. Wait a minimum of 96 hours before having a sample collected if you have undergone a medical procedure that used contrast media that contained either iodine or gadolinium.

Heavy metal panels are used to determine the concentration of toxic metals in people who have been exposed to potentially harmful metals. Tests like these are also used to track heavy metal concentrations in workers who are regularly exposed to toxic metals. Examples of jobs where this type of testing may be necessary include mining, carpentry, radiator repair, and gun ranges. A special treatment known as chelation therapy is used to lower the concentration of heavy metals in the body. Heavy metal panels are used to keep track of how effectively the therapy is working.

A typical heavy metal panel includes several types of tests, each designed to look for different metals. Typically, the tests are grouped based on whether they are measured through the blood or urine. A doctor or healthcare provider chooses the heavy metal panel based on the type of exposure their patient experienced or the symptoms that they are demonstrating. The most common metals included in panels like these are:

In situations where the healthcare provider believes that the patient has been exposed to a certain type of metal, they may order an individual test for that type of metal. The test for lead exposure, for instance, is usually run on its own. This is particularly true when testing children since they are at a higher risk of developing problems as a result of lead exposure. Tests involving fingernails, hair, fluids, or tissues of the body are typically ordered on their own rather than as part of a panel, as well.

What Are Some Common Situations Where Heavy Metals Panels Are Ordered?

If a medical provider believes that one of their patients has been exposed to heavy metals, they will typically order a heavy metals panel. Exposure to heavy metals can also cause symptoms, varying in type and severity based on the kind of metal and the concentration of the exposure. Early on, the symptoms of heavy metal exposure are easy to overlook since they aren’t very specific. Unfortunately, organ damage can occur even if a patient isn’t displaying any distinct symptoms. Signs to watch for that could indicate heavy metal poisoning include the following:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Problems involving the nervous system, including weakness, tingling, or numbness in the extremities.
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Anemia
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Lung irritation
  • Memory problems or other cognitive issues
  • Horizontal lines on the fingernails, which are known as Mees lines
  • Behavioral changes
  • Weak or deformed bones in young children
  • Miscarriage or early labor in women who are pregnant

Typically, workers who come in contact with heavy metals on the job undergo routine monitoring. There are also safety protocols in place that are designed to reduce the risk of metal exposure for employees. Many heavy metals that are used in work-related applications are regulated and monitored by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Anytime levels of these metals climb too high, steps are taken to reduce employee exposure levels and to monitor their systems for problems.

How Are The Test Results Interpreted?

Interpreting the results of a heavy metals panel isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Even if the test shows that the levels of a particular heavy metal are low in the blood, too much exposure may still have occurred. Heavy metals don’t remain in the urine or blood for very long. For example, lead enters the organs from the blood. With long-term exposure, it also finds its way into the bones. Chronic lead exposure could cause a patient to have lead in their urine, blood, bones, and internal organs.

Even patients who seem healthy may have small amounts of heavy metal present in their urine or blood. Metals like these exist naturally in the world. The maximum safe level of exposure can vary depending on how old the patient is. As scientists learn more about the safety of certain metals, the recommendations regarding exposure also may change.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 8,000 people who participated in a 2004 study had measurable amounts of mercury in their bodies. The study found that the amount of mercury in the urine and blood increased as people got older. According to the CDC, small amounts of mercury in the urine or blood don’t negatively impact health. Conducting studies like these, however, allows researchers to establish the average amount of mercury that most people have in their blood or urine. This makes it easier for doctors or medical practitioners to identify whether their patients have experienced higher-than-average exposure to mercury when compared to the general public.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has a section on its website titled ToxFAQs, where they provide detailed information about different metals, including the level of risk associated with the metal and its effect on health.

What Other Information Should I Know About Heavy Metals?

Everyone’s body processes heavy metals differently. The rate at which the metals are absorbed and eliminated can vary from one person to another. That means that two people who are exposed to the same type and amount of a particular heavy metal may not experience the same symptoms. People who have existing problems with their health may have an increased risk of suffering ill effects from heavy metal exposure.

Trace levels of heavy metals are carefully tracked. Steps are taken to keep exposure to these metals to a minimum. Despite that, avoiding heavy metals completely is unfeasible. For example, arsenic occurs naturally in drinking water in certain areas. Thermometers and fluorescent light bulbs contain low levels of mercury. Anytime these items break, the mercury can potentially find its way into the environment. Bacteria that are found in water produce an organic type of mercury known as methylmercury. This mercury can accumulate in fish. The level of mercury concentration depends on where the fish are located and how large they are. Usually, old, large fish contain the most methylmercury. In general, the risk of consuming too much mercury is extremely small, especially when compared to the health benefits of consuming fish. Pregnant women should be cautious when eating fish. According to the March of Dimes, women who are pregnant should not eat some types of fish until after they give birth. This reduces the risk of mercury harming their unborn child.

At one time, lead was commonly used in household plumbing, paint, and gasoline. While this type of environmental lead exposure is declining, old homes and buildings can still have high levels of lead in their plumbing and paint. In 2015, the town of Flint Michigan failed to keep lead from contaminating the water when they changed their water source. Switching from getting their water from Detroit to getting it from the Flint River without taking measures to prevent corrosion lead to major problems for the residents. As the river water made its way through the pipes, it corroded them, causing lead to find its way into the local water supply, making it dangerous to drink.

Over time, as house paint breaks down, the paint dust and chips can contaminate the soil around the building. Young children have the greatest risk of developing health problems as a result of exposure to lead. Children may put their mouths on surfaces that are painted, or they may consume paint chips. When playing, they may inadvertently be exposed to the soil that is contaminated, or they may breathe in dust that contains lead.

Lead isn’t the only heavy metal that can pose a problem. Cadmium and arsenic contamination have also been found on jewelry and toys in the past.

Three government agencies are responsible for monitoring heavy metal sources in the environment, including in the water, air, and supply of food. These agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The EPA is responsible for regulating emissions, establishing upper exposure limits for heavy metals, and tracking how heavy metal exposure is affecting the population. The FDA is tasked with controlling toxic metals in food. The CDC advises parents to test their children for exposure to lead, particularly if they spend a lot of time in houses or buildings that were constructed before 1978.