Protect Yourself from Lead Exposure

America has long had a love affair with the open road.

In fact, our country’s “car culture” is so strong that we associate the word automobile with freedom.

By the early 20th century, our grandparents started the tradition of going on road trips. By the 1960s and 70s, 85% of us were vacationing in our cars.1

But the average American family didn’t know the enormous toll this would take on our health.

I’m talking about the toxic effects of lead exposure.

In a moment, I’ll share how you can cleanse this poison from your body. But first, let me tell you how we got here…

Nearly 70 years ago, General Motors developed a lead-based gasoline additive that prevented engine knocking. By 1923, leaded gas was in every service station across the U.S.

The auto industry and health experts, including the U.S. surgeon general, knew that exposure to these fumes was poisoning millions of people.

But the billions of dollars in profits were too high to ignore – and the U.S. government continued not only to allow but promote the sale of this gas.

In the mid-1920s, unleaded fuel was nicknamed “loony gas” because it caused mental deterioration ranging from memory loss to a lack of coordination to sudden bursts of rage.

Of course, these are classic signs of lead poisoning.

Along with cognitive damage, lead exposure also leads to high blood pressure… heart disease… kidney disease…joint and muscle pain…mood disorders… low sperm count and infertility… diabetes…and even death.

Studies also show that lead exposure can dramatically increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s in later years.2 Exposure also increases your risk for cancer, especially in the liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain.3

Symptoms of Lead Exposure

Most traditional doctors aren’t trained to recognize the symptoms of lead exposure and often miss the signs:

  • Headache
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Change in mood
  • Numbness in hands or feet
  • Abdominal pain
  • Metallic taste in the mouth

Children are even more vulnerable to lead exposure than adults. Sadly, the devastating effects of lead poisoning on young children and grandchildren include irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system, behavioral and learning problems, hearing loss, and even a lower IQ.

In fact, a new study from Duke University and Florida State University suggests exposure to the lead contained in car fumes may have stolen millions of IQ points from more than half of all Americans over the past century – especially for those born before 1996.4

This exposure puts them at risk for other long-term health impairments, such as reduced brain size, greater likelihood of mental illness, and faster brain aging.

Even though lead is no longer used in fuel for our cars, the problem in America remains at epidemic levels.

At Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I routinely test patients for lead exposure and other heavy metal toxicity.

My patients are always shocked by the results.

The best way to detoxify your body is with chelation. I recommend a combination of oral chelation and IV chelation.

At my clinic, I use calcium disodium EDTA for IV chelation directly into your bloodstream. The EDTA surrounds and grabs hold of metal toxins such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. It carries them out of your body through your kidneys and urine.

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for IV chelation at my clinic, please call 561-784-7852.

Then I send patients home with three oral chelation nutrients: N-acetyl cysteine (250 mg up to 1,500 mg a day), SAM-e (200 mg to 800 mg a day), and alpha-lipoic acid (250 mg to 600 mg a day).

Protect yourself from future contamination

Considering the government did nothing to protect you from lead-based gas, it’s safe to assume that you can’t count on them to protect you and your family. But there are steps you can take to eliminate and reduce your exposure…

    • Test your home for lead. Lead is often found in your home’s paint – especially if your house was built before 1978. Homes built before 1986 may contain lead solder in the plumbing pipes. There are many affordable home tests available that can help determine the presence of lead. Based on the test results, you may want to contact an expert in lead testing to determine the source and specific levels.


    • Eat iron-rich foods. Iron helps protect your body by binding with the metal and preventing its absorption.5 By contrast, iron deficiency can make it easier for the body to absorb lead. Eating foods that are rich in iron help low the accumulation of lead in the body. This is especially true in younger children. Foods high in iron include shellfish, spinach, grass-fed liver and other organ meat, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, and pasture-raised turkey.


    • Don’t use imported canned goods. While the U.S. canned goods industry stopped using lead 30 years ago, 10% of imported food is packaged in lead-soldered cans.


    • Test your water through a certified laboratory. If results are positive, use the Environmental Working Group’s Water Filtration Buying Guide to find a filter that meets your budget and your needs. Use filtered water for cooking and drinking. If you don’t have a filter, flush your taps, and always use cold water since it contains less lead.


To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS



1. Frishein S. “To Many Travelers, 2020 Was the Summer of 1965.” NY Times. Sept 4, 2020.
2. Hegazi I. “Lead Exposure and Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There a Link?” Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS). 05/01/2014.
3. National Research Council 2013. “Potential Health Risks to DOD Firing-Range Personnel from Recurrent Lead Exposure.” Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
4. “McFarland M, et al. “Half of US population exposed to adverse lead levels in early childhood.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 15;119(11):e2118631119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2118631119.
5. Zhan Q, et al. “Dietary strategies for the treatment of cadmium and lead toxicity.” Nutrients. 2015 Jan;7(1):552–71.
6. Hsieh NH, et al. “Anemia risk in relation to lead exposure in lead-related manufacturing.” BMC Public Health. 2017;17:389. doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4315-7.