Neurons and Exercise

Neurons and Exercise

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

How to test for Aluminum, Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic in the Body

 Measuring the Body Burden of Toxic Trace Metals in Humans

Dennis N. Crouse



Aluminum – Drinking water containing orthosilicic acid (OSA) has been proven to remove aluminum from most organs of the body including bone and brain. Therefore, the best way to measure your body burden of aluminum is to drink a liter of Fiji water or Silicade that contains 124ppm of OSA and then collect your urine for 24 hours. Measure the total volume of the collected urine and have total aluminum concentration (in units of nanomolar) and total creatinine (in units of micromolar) both quantified in the collected urine. The ratio of aluminum to creatin concentrations reflects the blood aluminum through-out the body over a 24-hour period. This is more representative of your aluminum body burden than a blood sample that is only representative of the time and place where the blood sample is taken. It is also more reliable than hair samples as some shampoo and hair colorants have aluminum as an ingredient.

Based upon the color of your urine you know that it is sometimes more dilute than at other times. This can be due to inhibition of diuretic hormone by substances, such as alcohol, that reduce the reabsorption of water from the urine resulting in dilute urine. Both aluminum and creatinine once in the kidney are not reabsorbed back into the blood, unlike water. Creatinine is a breakdown waste product from muscle and is present in a narrow concentration range in urine. Therefore, a ratio of aluminum to creatinine concentrations minimizes the effect of urine dilution.

For 10 healthy adults who had not consumed 1 liter of OSA rich water the mean of urinary aluminum (nM/mM creatinine) is 43 and silicon (mcM/mM creatinine) is 32. These numbers are dependent upon the health of an individual and amount of aluminum and silicon in their diet and drinking water. For instance, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is a disease in which aluminum accumulates in the brain at levels higher than normal. Patients with SPMS who drank 1 to 1.5 liters per day of OSA rich water for twelve weeks had mean urinary aluminum levels of 135 (nM/mM creatinine) before drinking OSA rich water and 349 (nM/mM creatinine) after 12 weeks or drinking OSA rich water.


Lead – Exposure to lead can be measured with a whole blood test. However, the blood lead level (BLL) is not a reliable indicator of prior or cumulative dose or total body burden of lead. An indicator of prior lead exposure is a buildup of erythrocyte protoporphyrin in red blood cells. Tests are used to measure free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (FEP) and zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) in the blood. When BLLs reach or exceed 25mcg/dL an increase in FEP and/or ZPP can be detected. These increases in FEP and ZPP usually lag increases in BLL by two to six weeks.  When BLLs reach 40mcg/dL the FEP or ZPP levels increase abruptly and stay elevated for 3-4 months which is the average life span of a red blood cell.

·       Elevated BLL and Normal FEP/ZPP = Recent exposure to lead in last 2-6 weeks

·       Elevated BLL and Elevated FEP/ZPP = Chronic/ongoing exposure to lead

There is no safe level of lead and all adults have some body burden of lead. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) in 2015 indicated 5mcg/dL as a reference BLL above which action should be taken to target the detox of lead.

Mercury Mercury in the body can be in three chemical forms: organic mercury, such as methylmercury from eating fish, inorganic mercury, such as mercuric ion and mercury selenide, and metallic mercury, such as the mercury in dental fillings and some thermometers.

·       Methylmercury is measured in a whole blood sample taken from a vein.

·       Inorganic mercury and metallic mercury are measured in a random or 24-hour urine sample.

A hair sample can be measured to indicate exposure to increased levels of methyl mercury. However, hair samples are rarely used due to hair exposure to mercury containing dyes, bleach, and shampoo.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define the laboratory criteria for a diagnosis of excessive mercury exposure is blood mercury level greater than 10mcg/L. Most people have hair mercury levels well below 1mcg/gr (ppm). Adults with average hair mercury level of 4.2mcg/gr have neuropsychological function deficits.  Maternal hair mercury levels of 0.3 to 1.2mcg/gr have been associated with prenatal neurodevelopmental effects. If you have levels over these limits, stop eating fish and begin augmenting your diet with L-selenomethionine.


Arsenic – Significant exposure to arsenic results in greater than 12nanograms/ml in blood taken 4 to 6 hours after exposure. Blood concentration of arsenic are elevated for only a short period of time after exposure. This is because arsenic has a high affinity for tissue proteins. The body treats arsenic like phosphate and incorporates it in place of phosphate.  Arsenic is excreted at the same rate as phosphate with an excretion half-life of 12 days because most of ingested arsenic is in tissues, not in the blood where it has a half-life of 4 to 6 hours. Therefore, 24-hour total urine samples, not blood samples, are most useful for measuring the body burden of arsenic. The concentration of inorganic arsenic and its metabolites (i.e., MMA and DMA) in urine reflects the body burden of absorbed arsenic due to acute or chronic arsenic exposure.

Hair analysis can only be used as a screening tool for arsenic intoxication as there can be arsenic deposition in hair due to hair exposure to arsenic containing dyes, bleach, and shampoo. Also, there are uncertainties about the normal levels of arsenic in hair.     

Safety of Fiji Water


How Safe is Bottled Fiji Water

Dennis N. Crouse

March 15, 2021


Fiji water is sold in recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles1. Fiji water is a unique bottled water because the bottle is made of 100% PET that is more economic to recycle than bottles made of mixed plastics1. Both glass and PET bottles were used to store water from the same spring and in both cases no endocrine disrupters were released into the water2,3. This suggests that known endocrine disruptors, such as di-2-ethyhexyl phthalate (DEP)4, optionally added to some PET as a plasticizer, may be the cause of endocrine disruption seen with water stored in some non-Fiji PET bottles2. Fiji water has been tested and found to contain no detectable DEP5. Also, it is claimed the PET Fiji uses, does not contain phthalate plasticizers1.

Fiji water is also a unique bottled water because of its high concentration of orthosilicic acid (OSA) which is a water-soluble form of silica. OSA exists as single molecules [i.e., Si(OH)4] at a concentration of 124-149ppm6. Drinking water containing less than 160ppm of OSA (equivalent to 100ppm of dissolved silica) is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. FDA7.

In addition to OSA, Fiji water also contains bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, magnesium, sodium, and sulfate, all of which are considered harmless5. In addition, Fiji water contains the following trace metals including arsenic (1.2ppb), and fluoride (0.24ppm)5,8 that are well below the maximum contaminant levels [MCL or SMCL set by the U.S. EPA]. Also, Fiji water was filtered through a 0.45micron filter and then the filter was examined using a 45x power microscope to reveal 12 particles of unknown composition/liter9.

·       Aluminum: 0 ppb10 (levels of aluminum over 100ppb have been linked to Alzheimer’s)10

·       Antimony: 0 ppb5 (6 ppb MCL)Note 1

·       Arsenic: 1.2ppb5 (10ppb MCL)

·       Fluoride: 0.24ppm5,8 (2.0ppm SMCL)

·       Lead: 0 ppb5 (0ppb MCL)

·       Mercury: 0 ppb5 (2ppb MCL)

·       Particles: 12/liter9 where usually 1 in 3000 is a microplastic particleNote 2

Therefore, Fiji water is safe to drink. 


Note 1: An insignificant amount antimony is leached out of PET into bottled water after 3 months of storage at 22oC (71.6oF)11. However, storage of drinking water in PET containers at greater than 70oC (the glass transition temperature of PET) has been shown to add antimony to the stored water11.

Note 2: Fiji water is “micron-filtered” prior to bottling in order to remove particles5. A study that found 12 particles larger than 0.45 microns per liter of Fiji water, used a microscope that could not identify the composition of the particles9. When looking at small particles with just a microscope it is impossible to discern their composition12.   People who use equipment that can discern composition of particles (e.g., Raman spectrometer) have not examined the particles in Fiji water. However, they have found that only 1 particle in 3000 particles in river water is microplastic12. The toxicology of microplastic particles is currently unknown but in spite of this, plastic microbeads were used for a number of years in some toothpastes and cosmetics. Because microbeads may be mistaken as food by fish, the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015 by the U.S. FDA outlaws the manufacture, delivery, and sale of any rinse-off products (e.g., toothpastes, cosmetics, and over the counter drugs) containing microbeads smaller than 5 millimeters13. 


1. Lynch, I., et al.; Fiji water A sustainability report; University of Vermont (2010)

2. Wagner, M., and Oehlmann, J.; Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: total estrogenic burden and migration from plastic bottles; Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res.; 16:278-86 (2009)

 3. Chung, B.Y., et al.; Uterotropic and Hershberger assays for endocrine disruption properties of plastic food contact materials polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET); J. Toxicol. Envrion. Health, Part A; 76(10):624-34 (2013)

4. Latini, G., et al.; Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and endocrine disruption: a review; Curr. Drug Targets Immune Endocr. Metabol. Disord.; Mar.; 4(1):37-40 (2004)

5. Fiji Water; Bottled water quality report; January (2017)

6. Crouse, D.N.; Silica water the secret of healthy blue zone longevity in the aluminum age, Etiological Publishing (2018)

7. Select committee on GRAS substances – SCOGS-61, NTIS Pb 301-402/AS (1979)

8. Delaney, J. as Client; Tweed Laboratory Centre; NSW Australia; Laboratory report on Fiji water (2019)

9. Barrows, A.P.W., Anthropogenic microparticle contamination in bottled water for human consumption; (2018)

10. Crouse, D.N.; Prevent Alzheimer’s, autism, and stroke with 7 supplements, 7 lifestyle choices, and a dissolved mineral; Etiological Publishing (2016)

11. Westerhoff, P., et al.; Antimony leaching from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used for bottled drinking water; Water Res.; Feb.; 42(3):551-6 (2018)

12. Ivleva, N.; Technical University Munich; How dangerous is microplastic?

13. The microbead-free waters act: FAQs; U.S. FDA (2020)