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Heavy metals can build up in the body and cause a wide range of symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and changes in behavior. At-home heavy metal tests use urine and blood samples to measure the levels of heavy metal in the body.

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A heavy metal test examines the levels of heavy metals in the blood or urine. High levels can indicate that a person has had exposure to heavy metals.

At-home heavy metal tests use urine and blood samples to screen for long-term and recent exposure to these metals.

The heavy metals that tests most commonly screen for are:

A person can use a heavy metal test to see if they have experienced exposure to heavy metals and how much metal is in their body.

People may use a heavy metal test if they have symptoms of heavy metal poisoning or if they live or work in places where heavy metal exposure is likely.

Children may take a heavy metal test as part of standard screening procedures in certain states when entering the United States.

Heavy metals are present in the environment and living organisms, such as plants and animals. Heavy metals occur naturally in the air, but human activity can significantly increase their levels. Soil erosion, sewage discharge, and pesticides are some causes of higher levels of heavy metals in the air.

However, while heavy metals are naturally present in living organisms, high amounts of these metals can lead to toxicity.

People may wish to consider a heavy metal test if they have had possible exposure to heavy metals or live in an older house or an area with aging water pipes.

Additionally, some children under 6 years of age may require lead testing. Lead is a heavy metal that can lead to brain damage and behavioral conditions, especially in children whose brains are still developing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that this test should be essential for “all refugee children who are 6 months to 16 years of age upon entering the United States” and those who have lived in an older building in poor repair.

A pediatrician may recommend lead testing for other young children, depending on their living conditions and the presence of any symptoms.

If a person displays any symptoms of heavy metal poisoning, they should contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible for treatment and advice.

The general symptoms of heavy metal poisoning include:

However, a person’s symptoms may depend on the specific type of heavy metal poisoning.

Lead

The symptoms of lead poisoning vary according to a person’s age and the extent of their exposure to the metal.

Symptoms in children include:

  • changes in mood
  • changes in energy levels
  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • learning or behavioral conditions

Symptoms in adults include:

Lead poisoning can be fatal for both adults and children.

Learn more about lead poisoning.

Arsenic

The symptoms of arsenic poisoning include:

Learn more about arsenic poisoning.

Mercury

The symptoms of mercury poisoning include:

Learn more about mercury poisoning.

Cadmium

The symptoms of cadmium poisoning include:

A person may wish to consider the following factors when purchasing an at-home heavy metal test:

  • Types of heavy metal it measures: If a person suspects that they have had exposure to a particular heavy metal, they should make sure that it is on the list of metals that the test measures.
  • Collection method: Some people may find it easier and more comfortable to collect a urine sample than a blood sample.
  • Company labs: It is important to select an at-home test kit from a company that uses certified labs. This means that the labs adhere to state or federal regulations.

However, at-home heavy metal tests are not a substitute for advice and treatment from a healthcare professional. If a person is showing any symptoms of heavy metal poisoning, they should contact a doctor as soon as possible for further advice.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Everlywell Heavy Metals Test

Best for fast results

Collection methodurine sample
Results timewithin days of sample delivery

This test measures the levels of the following heavy metals:

The product also measures urinary creatinine as a control to ensure accurate results.

To use this test, a person must provide a urine sample at home and send it off to the company’s labs — which have certification from the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) — in the prepaid envelope that the company provides.

Everlywell states that it will provide the results within days of receiving the person’s urine sample. A physician reviews all test results.

The company recommends that people interpret their test results with the help of a healthcare professional.

At the time of publishing, the Everlywell Heavy Metal Test costs $199. The company accepts Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account cards as payment.

Use code “HEALTHLINE25” for 25% off.

myLAB Box Heavy Metals Screening Test

Best for advice from a physician

Collection methodurine collection
Results time2–5 days after sample delivery

This test measures the following heavy metals:

A person must provide a urine sample and mail it to the company’s labs, which both CLIA and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) have certified. The company states that it will provide test results within a maximum of 5 days of receiving the sample.

The company also states that it offers a consultation with a physician to discuss positive results.

At the time of publishing, the myLAB Box Heavy Metals Screening Test has a list price of about $90.

Thorne Heavy Metals Test

Best blood sample test

Collection methodblood sample
Results time8–10 business days after sample delivery

This test measures the following heavy metals:

  • lead
  • mercury
  • cadmium
  • zinc
  • copper
  • selenium
  • magnesium

The user needs to take a finger-prick blood sample and send it to a CLIA- and CAP-certified laboratory. Thorne states that people will receive their results in up to 10 business days.

The company presents the physician-reviewed results on a private and easy-to-read dashboard that describes what the results may mean. Additionally, the company provides an analysis of health risks and a personalized improvement plan.

At the time of publishing, the Thorne Heavy Metals test costs $145. However, this test is currently out of stock on Thorne’s website.

When taking a heavy metal test, a person may need to provide a urine or blood sample. Each test kit will come with its own instructions that a person should follow closely to ensure they carry out the test correctly.

A person may find it is necessary to avoid eating certain fish or shellfish before taking a heavy metal test. This is because they can contain high levels of mercury.

Providing a blood sample will involve using a finger-prick test. A person will press a small needle, sometimes called a lancet, into the side of a fingertip. They may feel a small pinch when the needle goes in.

Once they remove the lancet, a person can gently massage their finger and provide blood spots onto a collection card. The number of blood spots needed for the test may differ between companies.

To take a urine sample, a person needs to fill a urine cup or tube with urine.

Once a person has collected their blood or urine sample, they can ship their sample back to the company’s labs for testing, following the company’s instructions.

They will usually receive their test results via a secure patient portal or in an email.

A person should be aware of the risk of contaminating the sample when taking an at-home heavy metal test. People should closely follow any instructions about preparing, collecting, storing, and sending their samples to minimize the risk of contaminating them.

In heavy metal tests requiring a blood sample, there may be a small risk of bruising at the site from which a person took the sample.

The results of an at-home heavy metal test may not always be accurate. Additionally, an at-home test may not be suitable for the type of heavy metal exposure a person has experienced.

A person may wish to research further before buying an at-home heavy metal test to make sure it is the right for their needs and from a reputable company that uses trusted testing facilities.

Test results can show whether a person has elevated levels of a range of different heavy metals in their system. A person’s results may also explain what each result means for their health.

Some tests may include suggestions for the next steps, such as arranging an appointment with a healthcare professional. A person may wish to contact a doctor if they receive results that suggest high or low levels of heavy metals.

Below, we provide answers to some frequently asked questions about heavy metal testing.

What causes heavy metal poisoning?

Heavy metals occur naturally and are present in air, soil, and water. They are also a byproduct of many industrial activities.

Work, pollution, and certain products can expose people to heavy metals. Heavy metals may also be present in some foods, such as mercury-contaminated fish.

Are heavy metal tests accurate?

If a company uses CLIA- or CAP-certified labs, the test results are more likely to be accurate. However, user error, such as collecting a sample incorrectly, can affect accuracy.

People should not use an at-home test as a replacement for a diagnosis from a healthcare professional. If a person believes that they may have heavy metal poisoning, they should contact a doctor as soon as possible for advice.

What should I do if a test comes back positive?

People should avoid any further exposure to heavy metals where possible if they receive positive test results.

If a heavy metal test comes back positive, it is important to discuss the results with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

A doctor may recommend chelation therapy. This therapy involves taking a pill or using injections, and it can help remove excess levels of metals in the body.

Learn more about chelation therapy.

Heavy metals occur both naturally and as a byproduct of human activity. High amounts of heavy metals in the body can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and behavioral changes.

An at-home heavy metal test checks the amount of these materials in the body. People should not use these products as a replacement for testing, diagnosis, and advice from a healthcare professional. If a person has any symptoms of heavy metal poisoning, they should contact a doctor as soon as possible.