California residents know all too well what kind of devastating damage wildfires leave behind, from loss of property to loss of life. However, that’s the damage we can see and feel, but what about the damage that we don’t know about until it’s too late? The environmental pollution that results from forest fires is too great to even fathom and it must be addressed. Wildfire smoke inahaltion health effects can be long-term, as well as immediate. One specific pollutant that can wreak havoc not only on the environment but on people’s health is the heavy metal Mercury.
Mercury In Wildfire Smoke
Most people know that certain fish and amalgam fillings are sources of mercury exposure, but these are NOT the only sources. Mercury is airborne from power plants and absorbed in both deciduous (leaf-producing) trees and coniferous (needle) trees. It concentrates in the leaves and the bark and when that mercury is burned, it becomes air-borne, converting into what is known as Elemental Mercury, which can be toxic, especially in large quantities. One of the areas of highest concentration of environmental mercury is the West Coast.
According to the National Science Foundation (NSF.gov), forest fires in the US “release about 30 percent as much mercury as the nation’s industrial sources,” and the “fires in Alaska, California, Oregon, Louisiana and Florida emit particularly large quantities of the toxic metal.”
Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke
Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. The inhalation of large amounts of elemental mercury vapors that are emitted from these wildfires can cause a multitude of health problems, exerting harmful effects on many organ systems:
- Nervous system: insomnia, memory loss, anxiety, headaches and neuromuscular effects
- Cardiovascular system: elevated blood pressure, cardiotoxicity
- Digestive system: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Immune system: autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory responses
- Endocrine system: thyroid and hormone dysregulation
- Respiratory system: cough, shortness of breath
- Kidneys: increased urine protein and kidney failure
- Skin and eye irritation, vision problems, hearing problems
How To Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke Inhalation
If you live in Southern California, chances are you have been exposed to air-inhalation of elemental mercury even if you are not in the direct vicinity of the forest fires. If you are wondering how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke, you may have taken the common measures, such as:
- staying indoors with windows closed
- drinking plenty of fluids
- using a Saline nasal spray or the Neti Pot
- using a N95 respirator when going outdoors
- watching air quality reports
- asking your healthcare provider for specific recommendations based on your health history
How To Detox After Wildfire Smoke Inhalation
With the current wildfire raging and with the history of fires this year alone, it is important to clear your body of any possible mercury exposure, along with many other possible toxins. Detoxing after smoke exposure is essential to your long-term and short term health. Generally if you feel any symptoms from the list above or have been experiencing fatigue, brain fog, lowered immunity, or just feeling unwell, you can benefit from detoxifying your body. If you are looking for ways to detox your body after wildfire smoke inhalation, whether you live close to the fire or happen to be downwind from the fire, we are here to help.
Getting Rid of Mercury: IV Therapy For Heavy Metal Chelation in Los Angeles
At our center we offer IV therapy with options for general detoxification or heavy metal chelation. IV drip therapy allows you to give your body an instant boost of the key vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally. Chelation therapy is a very effective way to remove several heavy metals, including mercury, from the bloodstream. We offer testing to determine if you have toxicity, what kind it is and how severe it is and once that is determined. We can offer you options and solutions, such as IV therapy, along with other holistic and functional medicine approaches to improving your health, especially if it has been recently impacted by the Los Angeles wildfires.