Mercury and Heavy Metals

Heavy metals, and in particular, mercury, are toxic to the brain.  Significant research indicates that a majority of children/people with autism do not have the ability to detoxify heavy metals like the rest of the general population.  Many of the bodily systems that detoxify heavy metals and protect the body from damage are not optimally functioning in children with ASDs.  Therefore, with the same level of exposure as others, there is a high percentage of heavy metal toxicity in the ASD population. In her paper, “Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning,” Sallie Bernard demonstrated that the symptoms of mercury poisoning very closely mirror the symptoms of autism.

Further scientific research from Boyd Haley, Jon Pangborn, William Walsh, Baker, Cohen, and others has indicated that mercury significantly impacts the brain of those with ASDs.  They say this is in part because heavy metals damage sulfation.  Sulfation includes the biochemical processes that aid detoxification and the gut and blood brain barrier – systems that are essential to protecting the body and brain from mercury poisoning.

The major sources of mercury exposure for children are vaccinations (even today the flu shot contains high levels), dental amalgams, and prenatal introduction.  Other heavy metal toxicities are also high in this group including: lead, aluminum, antimony, cadmium. Aluminum, as well as mercury, is found as a preservative in vaccinations.  Aluminum is also found in cookware, some canned food, and antiperspirants.  Antimony is in flame retardant used in baby sleepwear and bedding.  Lead in our environment is commonly found in old homes, in the water supply from old pipes.

If you or your child have high levels of any of
  these heavy metals, here are sources to know about
  to determine ongoing exposure and to avoid future


  • Coal burning power plants
  • Fish
  • Vaccines (still contain “trace amounts” –
        3 mcg. which is 6 times the EPA’s safe limit
        per shot for an infant)
  • Amalgam dental fillings
  • Burning hazardous wastes
  • The production of chlorine

You can also visit the EPA’s website on mercury


  • Antacids (most)
  • Aluminum Cookware
  • Aluminum cans and some canned food (other is
        lined with plastic)
  • Baking Powder
  • Antiperspirants
  • Vaccines
  • Preservatives
  • Coloring agents
  • Leavening agents
  • Processed cheese, spices, pickles and baked goods
  • Salt (some)
  • Buffered Aspirin (some)
  • White Flour (some)
  • Treated Water


  • Lead-based paint
  • Contaminated soil
  • Old pipes
  • Dust
  • Drinking water


  • Commercial fertilizers
  • Food supply from fertilizers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Batteries
  • Plastic manufacturing


  • Flame retardant sleepwear

Hi, I’m Julie Matthews, a Certified Nutrition Consultant, Author, and Published Researcher. I teach parents and practitioners that children with autism, ADHD, and related disorders can improve and heal, and that there’s hope for their children. Then I educate and empower them to make strategic dietary changes that positively affect children’s health, which in turn helps their learning and behavior. With 17 years of experience and my unique range of knowledge, from nutrition research and clinical experience to cooking in the kitchen for my own family, I’ve created a much-needed community for parents and practitioners looking to help children with autism live happy, healthy lives. Join us.

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